Jochen Büttner

TOPOI Research Group Leader (Nov 2012-Dez 2018)

Dipl. Phys.

Jochen Büttner currently investigates processes of innovation in the ancient world. A particular focus lies on the question which role knowledge played in these processes and, how in turn, innovation influenced the formation of theoretical bodies of knowledge.

He retains his longstanding interest in early modern mechanics. His main research theme in this area regards the role of so called 'challenging objects' as mediators between practical and theoretical knowledge in the early modern period.

Jochen Büttner has long been concerned with the use, theoretically as well as practically, of new electronic media in the history of science and, more generally, in the humanities. In this context, he has collaborated in, designed and directed a number of projects.


Atlas of Innovations


Opening up Data for Re-use: Semantic Modeling and Sustainability


Spatio-Temporal Analysis using Data Visualization


The Emergence and Expansion of Preclassical Mechanics


Weighing as an Early Global Innovation


Pratolino: The History of Science in a Garden


Selected Publications

Büttner, J. (2017). Shooting with ink. In M. Valleriani (Ed.), The structures of practical knowledge (pp. 115-166). Cham: Springer.

Read More

Hansen, S., Renn, J., Klimscha, F., & Büttner, J. (2017). Wie das Rad erfunden wurde. Spektrum der Wissenschaft: Spezial Archäologie, Geschichte, Kultur, (4), 50-53.

Read More

Hansen, S., Renn, J., Klimscha, F., Büttner, J., Helwing, B., & Kruse, S. (2016). The digital atlas of innovations: a research program on innovations in prehistory and antiquity. eTopoi: Journal for Ancient Studies, Special Volume 6: Space and…

Read More

Büttner, J., & Renn, J. (2016). The early history of weighing technology from the perspective of a theory of innovation. eTopoi: Journal for Ancient Studies, Special Volume 6: Space and Knowledge, 757-776.

Read More

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Astronomisches Wissen im Wandel: Von der Nebra Himmelsscheibe zum kopernikanischen System

TU Berlin

Die Entstehung einer Wissenschaft: Vom altägyptischen Transportschlitten zur Newtonschen Mechanik

TU Berlin

Astronomical Knowledge; From the Nebra Sky Disk to the Copernican System

IU Bloomington



Prolegomena zu einer Theorie antiker Innovationsprozesse