Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and Institute for Astrophysics Goettingen Campus City of Science Germany

Researching, studying and living on Göttingen Campus

On the Göttingen Campus, the University of Göttingen and local research institutions join forces to promote research, teaching, and the training of junior researchers. The IMPRS for Solar System Science is one of the leading examples for doctoral education in this alliance.

An exceptionally vibrant research environment

In Göttingen, the City of Science, the University of Göttingen and non-university research institutes cooperate closely and form a network of top-level research institutes. The partner institutions have institutionalised their cooperation in the Göttingen Campus, and coordinate their activities through the Göttingen Research Council. Göttingen Campus provides aspiring scientists with excellent conditions for a research-based education in a vast variety of academic disciplines. Renowned research institutions, among them four Max Planck Institutes and a branch of the German Aerospace Center, combine the outstanding infrastructure of their facilities with University of Göttingen's world-class academic tradition to provide the best possible training. They create an open environment in which students, doctoral candidates and experienced researchers can develop fresh and innovative ideas. Numerous scientists and scholars from the non-university research institutes lecture at the university, and joint professorial appointments create bridges between the university and Campus partners. This structure consolidates Göttingen's long-standing reputation as one of the most vibrant research environments in Germany.

Founded in 1737, the University of Göttingen is a research-led university of high international standing with a rich history. From 1807 to 1855 Carl Friedrich Gauss taught in Göttingen and acted as the first director of its University Observatory. Among the reseachers working there later on were Karl Schwarzschild, Paul ten Bruggencate, Rudolph Kippenhahn, and Egon Horst Schröter. The university is renowned for its diverse range of academic disciplines and for its research-oriented teaching and outstanding scientific environment, in which 45 Nobel laureates have either studied, taught or pursued their research, including for example the famous mathematician and theoretical physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Today, internationally renowned expert researchers teach in more than 40 academic disciplines.

Göttingen's history and high reputation as a research center have attracted an exceptional number of Max Planck Institutes. The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, 22 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. Four of the Göttingen Nobel laureates are affiliated with the Max Planck Society. Among the scientists honoured with Nobel prizes in physics for their work in Göttingen are Max Born, James Franck, Werner Heisenberg and Johannes Stark. The most recent Nobel laureate on campus, Stefan Hell, is both a physicist and working at one of Göttingen's Max Planck Institutes.

Institutions providing important infrastructure for the Campus partners are the excellent Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) and the Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung (GWDG, computing and IT competence centre). The SUB maintains a leading position among German academic libraries, holding 7.8 million media units and a broad range of services for study and research purposes. The GWDG offers a wide range of information and communication services for the University of Göttingen and all of the Max Planck Society. Its main tasks include the operation of basic IT services, data management solutions and high-performance computing facilities, and advice on scientific data processing. The GWDG also provides special systems and supervises the data networks which connect the institutes in Göttingen with each other, with the national scientific network, and the internet.

Apart from the cooperation that the MPI for Solar System Research maintains with its partner institutions to run the IMPRS, the MPS has collaborated with local partners in the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 963 "Astrophysical Flow Instabilities and Turbulence" (five University of Göttingen institutes, two Technical University Braunschweig institutes, MPS, MPI-DS, DLR-IAS, GWDG); in the Research Training Group RTG 1351 "Extrasolar Planets and their host stars" (University of Hamburg, University of Göttingen, MPS); and in the Erasmus Mundus masters course in Astronomy and Astrophysics "AstroMundus" (Universities of Innsbruck, Padova, Rome Tor Vergata, Göttingen, Belgrade and associated partners AOB, INFN, INAF, MPS). IMPRS and AstroMundus are among the university's more than 25 full-time undergraduate and graduate programmes taught entirely in English.

Currently, 27,450 students are enrolled at the University of Göttingen, 11% of whom are international students. The international "Göttingen University Family" unites more than 17,000 alumni in a world-wide network. In the Solar System School, the percentage of international students is 70%, leading to the creation of a highly international community of experts among its students and graduates.

Student life

Göttingen, with a population of approx. 130,000, is a city where tradition and innovation complement one another perfectly. The historic city center with its excellently preserved timber-framed houses, on the one hand, and the University of Göttingen with its 27,450 students, on the other hand, create a lively atmosphere that would be hard to find elsewhere.

The university departments and buildings are mainly located on two campuses and are within easy walking or cycling distance from each other. On the north campus site, the MPS and the Faculty of Physics are located just across the street of each other, and both find themselves in the vicinity of the Faculty of Chemistry, the Faculty of Geoscience and Geography, and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, among others.

The average cost of living in Göttingen is reasonable compared to some other major university cities in Germany, allowing for a high quality of life at moderate cost. While doctoral candidates in fully financed programmes such as the Solar System School are not eligible for housing in student accommodation (student residence halls), the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research provides temporary accommodation for its IMPRS students upon arrival and offers help in finding accommodation on the private market.

Situated in the geographical centre of Germany and Europe, Göttingen has excellent travel connections; Berlin, Hamburg or Frankfurt are only a two-hour train ride away. Göttingen itself offers many recreational activities: it boasts three theatres and a symphony orchestra. Many cinemas, cafés and pubs provide numerous opportunities to meet like-minded people. The university's students' union also sponsors many cultural and recreational events. Last but not least, the city and the university offer a variety of activities for sports enthusiasts.

International Max Planck Research Schools in Göttingen

Göttingen Campus hosts a total of five International Max Planck Research Schools that prepare students for a unique career in scientific research, with the Solar System School being one of them. While the Solar System School is purely a PhD programme, two of the other IMPRS offer fast-track MSc/PhD programmes. To prepare for entry into the Solar System School in Göttingen, Bachelor graduates in physics can instead follow the regular Master of Science programme in physics with a specialisation in astrophysics or geophysics, or apply to participate in the Astromundus programme.

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