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Article: From Aspirins to X-rays

By voyage reporter Matthew Beavers

Science is a prominent feature of Germany's past and present. Some of the most important discoveries of the last two centuries have been made by German scientists.

Inventors and Inventions

In the world of physics, German discoveries and inventions include the X-ray, discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen, the 'hertz' unit of frequency, named after physicist Heinrich Hertz, and Einstein's world-famous theory of relativity.

German chemist Otto Hahn is widely accredited as being the pioneer of radioactivity. Hahn's research paved the way for advancements in nuclear technology, which have shaped the 20th century, from atomic weapons and nuclear power stations to breakthroughs in medical treatment.

In the field of engineering, German engineers include Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the modern printing press and Hans Geiger, creator of the Geiger counter. Many of the most important names in the automobile and aviation industry are also former German inventors, for example Zeppelin, Daimler, Diesel and Benz.


German universities play a key role in the modern-day German science industry. There are currently over 350 universities in Germany, among them some of the oldest universities in the world (the University of Heidelberg dates back to 1386). Research is often funded by one of the many societies (Gesellschaften) or foundations (Stiftungen) which award scholarships and research grants to students and academics with the aim of promoting excellence and international cooperation in the field of science.

Alongside the universities, there are several large national research institutes. These are mainly funded by the national and state governments and carry out research into topics of national importance and the latest scientific discoveries.

Did you know ...

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