Jürgen Renn

Department I
Dr., Professor, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
since March 1, 1994

In his research Jürgen Renn studies, together with his group, structural changes in systems of knowledge. The aim is to develop a theoretical understanding of knowledge evolution, taking into account its epistemic, social and material dimensions. As groundwork for such a theoretical approach to the history of knowledge, he has been studying some of the great transformations of systems of physical knowledge, such as the origin of theoretical science in antiquity, the emergence of classical mechanics in the early modern period and the revolutions of modern physics in the early twentieth century. In addition to this longitudinal perspective on the evolution of knowledge, he and his collaborators have developed a transversal approach, studying dissemination and transformation processes of knowledge across cultural boundaries.
He has been engaged from the very start in the Digital Humanities and the Open Access Movement. He is a co-initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities launched by the MPG in 2003 and has created together with his colleagues the Edition Open Access as an innovative book series. He has also been responsible for numerous major exhibitions on the history of science from Albert Einstein - Chief Engineer of the Universe to Archimede. Arte e scienza dell'invenzione
Jürgen Renn is honorary professor for History of Science at both the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin. He has taught at Boston University, at the ETH in Zurich and at the University of Tel Aviv. He has held visiting positions in Vienna, Bergamo, Pavia and at CalTech. He is a member of the Leopoldina as well as of further national and international scientific and editorial boards. In 2011 he won the Premio Anassilaos International. In 2014, he won the ESHS Neuenschwander Prize and the Premio Internazionale Marco & Alberto Ippolito and was awarded the Max Planck Communitas Award and the Francis Bacon Award.

Selected publications: 
May 2013
Musei Capitolini, Roma
Inauguration: Archimede, arte e scienza dell' invenzione
May 2013
Seven Pines Symposium: The Conceptual Development of Quantum Physics, Minnesota
From Classical Mechanics to Quantum Mechanics. Schroedinger and Umdeutung
April 2013
Planetarium am Insulaner, Berlin
Einsteins Entdeckung der Relativitaetstheorie
March 2013
Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES ), Paris
Einstein's Path to General Relativity
February 2013
UNESCO, First WSIS+10 Review Meeting, Paris
Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities + 10 Commitment of the Max Planck Society and International Research and Cultural Organisations
January 2013
XIV. Colloquio del Lessico Intellettuale Europeo (ILIESI), Roma
The Space of Relativistic Mechanics / Der Raum der relativistischen Mechanik
January 2013
Das Anthropozaen-Projekt. Eine Eroeffnung, Berlin
Keynote Lecture: Anthropocenic Research Forum
November 2012
Humboldt University Berlin
Contingentia. Transformationen des Zufalls. Zufaelle der Transformation
November 2012
The 5th conference of the European Society for the History of Science, University of Athens
Einstein as a Cosmopolitan (Plenary Lecture)
November 2012
Universitaet Erlangen
Festvortrag: Die Globalisierung des Wissens und ihre Geschichte
November 2012
"Wissenschaftsakademien im Zeitalter der Ideologien", LEOPOLDINA und HU Berlin, Halle
Utilitas oder Curiositas. Zur Bedeutung der Wissenschaftsakademien heute
October 2012
Juedisches Museum, Berlin
Freier Zugang zu kulturellem Erbe: eine Zwischenbilanz
September 2012
Biblioteca Leonardiana di Vinci, VINCI
Science et Representations. Colloque International en memorie de Pierre Souffrin
September 2012
University of Oslo
Globalization of Knowledge and Its Consequences
August 2012
The International Radiation Symposium 2012, Berlin
Einstein at the Crossroads between Quantum- and Relativity Physics
June 2012
FU Berlin, Keynote Lecture
Ethik - eine Selbstreflexion der Wissenschaft
June 2012
8th meeting of STEP ( Science and Technology in the European Periphery), Corfu National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Keynote Lecture
The Globalization of Knowledge in History
June 2012
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Halle
C.F. von Weizsaecker in den Netzwerken der MPG
June 2012
8th meeting of STEP ( Science and Technology in the European Periphery), Corfu National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Keynote Lecture
The Globalization of Knowledge in History
March 2012
Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Tagung „Himmels(t)raum“
Vor 400 Jahren: Galileo Galilei Vollendet die kopernikanische Wende
February 2012
FU Berlin, Akademische Abschlussfeier des Fachbereichs Physik, Berlin
Die Geschichte der Wellenmechanik
February 2012
EFC Research Forum Stakeholders' Conference, Barcelona
History of Science in Action: Creating and Publishing Virtual Knowledge Spaces
February 2012
Residencia de Estudiantes Madrid
Einstein as a Missionary of Science
February 2012
University of Bern
Beyond Editions: Historical Sources in the Digital Age
January 2012
FU Berlin (Experimental Molecular Biophysics), Klosters
The Global Evolution of Knowledge
Teaching activities
University of ViennaDoctoral Colloquium
Humboldt University/Free University BerlinDoctoral Colloquium
University of BergamoSeminar "Evolution of Knowledge"
Humboldt University/Free University BerlinDoctoral Colloquium
Humboldt University/Free University BerlinDoctoral Colloquium
Humboldt University/Free University BerlinDoctoral Colloquium


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin