Gregor Lax

Research Scholar (Jan 2018-Dec 2022)


Gregor Lax’s main interests lie in the history of science policy, of organizational, institutional and structural developments in science as well as the genesis, development and power of science policy discourse formations. After completing the MA program “History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences” (HPSS) he received his doctorate from the University of Bielefeld in 2014. The focus of his doctoral thesis was on the relationship between basic and applied research in the context of science policy and innovation in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945. From 2011 to 2014 Lax worked as a research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Mainz as part of a project on the institute’s history. The research focus of his postdoctoral projects between 2014 and 2016, which were also supported by the MPIC, was on the history of the atmospheric sciences in Germany. In 2016–2017 he worked as a science coordinator for the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat), where he supervised the evaluation of extensive research infrastructure projects, especially in the field of atmospheric and Earth system sciences, for a national roadmap for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In addition, he was concerned with strategies for the promotion of excellence, transfer processes as well as the current debate on a potential erosion of trust in science. In January 2018, Gregor Lax started working as a Research Scholar in the GMPG Research Program on the history of Earth system research in the MPG.


Selected Publications

Benner, Susanne, Gregor Lax, Paul J. Crutzen, Ulrich Pöschl, Jos Lelieveld, and Hans Günter Brauch, eds. (2021). Paul J. Crutzen and the Anthropocene: A New Epoch in Earth’s History. The Anthropocene: Politik—Economics—Society—Science (APESS) 1…

Read More

Lax, Gregor (2021). “Paul J. Crutzen and the Path to the Anthropocene.” In Paul J. Crutzen and the Anthropocene: A New Epoch in Earth’s History, ed. S. Benner, G. Lax, P. J. Crutzen, U. Pöschl, J. Lelieveld, and H. G. Brauch, 1–15. Cham: Springer…

Read More

Lax, Gregor (2020). Wissenschaft zwischen Planung, Aufgabenteilung und Kooperation. Zum Aufstieg der Erdsystemforschung in der MPG, 1968–2000. Preprint : Ergebnisse des Forschungsprogramms zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (GMPG) 12. Berlin…

Read More

Schauz, Désirée and Gregor Lax (2018). “Professional Devotion, National Needs, Fascists Claims, and Democratic Virtues: The Language of Science Policy in Germany.” In Basic and Applied Research: The Language of Science Policy in the Twentieth…

Read More

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Atmosphären- und Erdsystemforschung in Deutschland. Historische Perspektiven auf Wissenschaft zwischen Grundlagenforschung und gesellschaftlicher Relevanz.

Vortragsreihe im Rahmen des Tropos-Kollquiums, Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung

Sources, Sinks and Cycles. On the Formation Process of the Atmospheric Sciences in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Workshop/Conference: Contributions for "Modernizing Climate in the Environmental, Atmospheric, and Geosciences: Nordic Contributions and the International Context,"  KTH Stockholm

From "Basic Research" to "Geo-Engineering." Atmospheric Scientists in the Federal Republic of Germany.

International Conference: Fifth Sino-German Conference on the topic of Ethical Challenges of Science and Technology, internationale Konferenz an der Universität Dalian (China)

Atmosphären- und biogeochemische Forschung am MPIC, 1968–2000.

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Atmosphärenchemie am MPIC, 1968–1978.

Max Planck Institute for Chemistry

Zur Ansiedlung der Atmosphärenchemie am MPIC, 1959–1968.

Max Planck Institute for Chemistry

Slobjects (Gruppenpräsentation).

Anthropocene Campus, Workshop/Conference at Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

"Grundlagenforschung" and "Anwendungsforschung" in Science Policy Contexts in Western Germany after World War II.

International Conference: Basic Science and Applied Science, Universität Bonn

Ein human(istisch)es Antlitz für Grundlagen- und Anwendungsforschung in der BRD in den 1950ern.

Vortragsreihe am Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung Bielefeld

Die Attraktivität der Linearität. Zur Entstehung einer Innovationsrhetorik.

Kolloqium ‚Wissenschaftsgeschichte‘ an der Universität Bielefeld

News & Press

Gregor Lax quoted in Zeit article about Physics Nobel Prize-winner Klaus Hasselmann


Obituary for the Nobel Laureate Paul Josef Crutzen (1933–2021)