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Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Energiekonversion

The Institute evolved from an "Independent Department for Radiation Chemistry" (Selbständige Abteilung für Strahlenchemie im Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung), founded by the Max Planck Society in April 1958 upon the initiative of Prof. Karl Ziegler. Under the direction of Prof. Günther O. Schenck the Department was attached to (and built on the premises of) the "Max Planck Institute for Coal Research". It became a formally independent Max Planck Institute in May 1981.

The Institute, presently directed by Prof. Wolfgang Lubitz and Prof. Karl Wieghardt, is engaged in basic research with focus on bioinorganic chemistry, biophysics, photochemistry and photobiology. It has about 110 permanent employees, ca. 20 of whom are staff scientists. Additionally there are ca. 65 PhD students, post-docs and visiting scientists.

The MPI für Strahlenchemie has become known worldwide as a research center of excellence in radiation chemistry, photochemistry and bioinorganic chemistry. Fundamental work covering many aspects of these fields (e.g., photosensitization - note the text book expression "Schenck mechanism") and early activities towards the photobiological discipline are due to the pioneering spirits of the founding director. Milestones in the unravelling of the molecular mechanism of radiation-induced cell damage have come forth subsequently. While the combination of synthetic, physical and theoretical photochemistry has continued to be a research lead in the Institute, a strong involvement in photobiological research, adding new dimensions of multidisciplinary in-house collaboration, has evolved. With the apointments of Profs. Wieghardt and Lubitz the new course centered on bioinorganic chemistry has been manifested. As in the past active collaboration with a very large number of research groups distributed over five continents is a "natural" for all groups of the Institute.

Scientific success is the primary source of satisfaction and encouragement to the researcher. Often it is accompanied also with demands for service to the scientific community in functions within academic institutions and professional organizations. The Strahlenchemie is proud to contribute by tradition much in terms of teaching in-house and at universities, of international publishing, of founding and supporting scientific organizations, and hosting local and international meetings.

The two independent Max Planck Institutes in Mülheim share some of their facilities and form a research campus of some 600 researchers and support staff on top of a hill overlooking the Ruhr valley and the city of Mülheim an der Ruhr.

For many decades the large coal and iron companies had made the Ruhr valley the industrial heartland of Germany.

Today the area is undergoing a rapid transition to modern technologies: concurrent with the cleaning up of the environment a number of large universities have been established, local academic and practical training centers have been created, and the founding of small and medium-size ‘high-tech’ enterprises is actively encouraged. All this makes Mülheim an attractive place for graduate and postgraduate studies.


Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Energiekonversion
Stiftstr. 34-36
45470 Mülheim a. d. Ruhr
Tel: +49 (0)208/3060
Fax: +49 (0)208/306 3951

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