Institute view


The Institute of Geosciences can look back on a history rich in tradition, which is reflected, among other things, in the listed building.
Institute view
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

The history of the IGW in brief

  • Mineralogy


    • from 1782 mineralogical lectures by Lenz (1794 ao. professor)
    • 1796/97 foundation of the "Societät für die gesammte Mineralogie zu Jena".
    • new upswing by Linck since 1894
    • Cooperation mineralogy - Zeiss Werke (E. Abbe)
    • 1904 Move from the former castle to a new institute building (Schillerstraße, next to Anatomieturm)
    • 1930 Separation into Mineralogical Institute (F. Heide) and Geological Institute (W. von Seidlitz)
    • March 1945 Destruction of the Mineralogical Institute
    • 1946 Re-establishment of the Mineralogical Institute in Sellierstaße 6
    • 1968 Closure of the Mineralogical Institute with the university reform
    • from 1974 administration of the collection by a custodian of the Haeckel-Haus, Department of History of Natural Sciences
    • 1989 the Mineralogical Collection is opened to the public again
  • Geophysic


    • Commissioning of a seismological station in the basement room of the physics institute in 1900
    • 1904 relocation of the seismological station to the 10m deep rooms of the observatory
    • from April 1905 dispatch of the seismic monthly bulletins
    • Instrumental further development of seismographs
    • Actual foundation of the institute on 4.9.1923 as "Reichszentrale für Erdbebenforschung with the seat in Jena".
    • 1922 to 1923 Construction of a research institute and a seismic station on the slope of the Landgrafen (Fröbelstieg)
    • 1.10.1945 Affiliation to the university
    • October 1946 Subordination as "Central Institute for Earthquake Research" under the German Academy of Sciences (DAW) in Berlin
    • 1954 to 1956 Construction of a new institute at Burgweg 11
    • 1956 to 1963 Planning and construction of a seismic station south of Pößneck near Moxa
    • 1968 Admission to the Central Institute for Physics of the Earth of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR
    • October 1992 Foundation of the Institute for Geosciences (IGW) of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Today there are two geophysical chairs there (General Geophysics, Applied Geophysics)
  • Quaternary Paleontology

    Quaternary Paleontology

    • 1696 scientific dispute between Tenzel and the Collegium medicum in Gotha about fossil elephant remains from the travertine of Burgtonna: oldest testimony of quaternary paleontological research in Thuringia.
    • since the 19th century important fossil collections (e.g. collection of J.W.v. Goethe) for the nearby sites of Taubach, Ehringsdorf, Weimar (Belvedere Allee) and Süßenborn are created in Weimar
    • through the work of Schlotheim, Fritsch, Pohlig, Soergel, Wüst, Wiegers, Weiss and others the importance of the Quaternary finds from the surroundings of Weimar became internationally known
    • Research group Quaternary Paleontology (Ltr. H.-D. Kahlke) at the Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Weimar takes care of and expands the previous collections on Quaternary Paleontology of Thuringia in the 1950s
    • 1962 foundation of the Institute for Quaternary Paleontology; coordination of international working groups for the scientific treatment of the classical Quaternary sites of Thuringia
    • since 1963 so far five international Quaternary paleontological conferences
    • since 1965 processing of the Thuringian Quaternary sites in six monographs so far
    • publication of the series "Quaternary Paleontology
    • With about 42 000 specimens and series the department has the most comprehensive collection of Quaternary paleontology in Central Europe.
    • 1992 Affiliation to the Institute of Geosciences of the FSU as the Department of Quaternary Paleontology
    • 2000 Integration of the Weimar Quaternary Paleontology into the Senckenberg Nature Research Society
  • Geology


    • from 1782 geognosy part of mineralogy under Lenz
    • 1856 E. E. Schmied becomes director of the Grand Ducal Mineralogical Institutes and full professor of natural history with special reference to mineralogy and geognosy
    • 1894 to 1906 first Haeckel professorship to J. Walther for geology and paleontology
    • from 1930 independent Geological Institute (W. v. Seidlitz)
    • 1945 Destruction of the Geological Institute by bombardment
    • 1946 Reopening of the Geological Institute under F. Deubel (chair from 1949), Beethovenstraße 6 (Max-Reger-Haus)
    • 1953 Move into the first new building of the university as Geological-Paleontological Institute, Fraunhoferstraße 6 (Chair of Paleontology A. H. Müller)
    • 1966 Closure of the Geological-Paleontological Institute, transfer of the collections of paleontology to the Phyletic Museum Jena, of regional geology to the Museum Meiningen, then Schleusingen, and deposits to the University of Chemistry Merseburg
    • Until 1992, the library of the Geol.-Paleontol. Institute is administered by the Department of Lithology in the Jena branch of the Central Institute for Physics of the Earth and is kept open for loan.
    • 1992 (October 23) Start of geological teaching in the re-established Institute for Geosciences
  • Anniversary volume "25 years of the Institute of Geosciences
    Cover of the book "25 Years Department of Geosciences"
    Cover of the book "25 Years Department of Geosciences"
    Image: IGW

    Anniversary volume "25 Jahre Institut für Geowissenschaften"

    A booklet tells from 25 years: An Excursion through the Jena Geosciences

    The Institute of Geosciences at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) celebrated its 25th birthday in 2017, but the geosciences in Jena can point to a much older tradition. Its beginnings are closely linked to Johann Georg Lenz (1745 - 1832), who lectured on mineralogy from 1782 and taught as an associate professor from 1794. In 1796, Lenz founded the "Societät für die gesammte Mineralogie" (Society for the Study of Mineralogy), which radiated far beyond Jena.

    These and other events from the eventful history of the Jena Geosciences are collected in the volume "25 Years of the Institute for Geosciences - People, Concepts and Ideas", which Prof. Dr. Christoph Heubeck has now published. The authors - mostly former and current employees of the institute - offer an interesting excursion through the geosciences at the University of Jena, highlighting details of this history. For example, one of the chapters is dedicated to the institute building at Burgweg 11, which was significantly advanced by Gerhard Krumbach. The new building was inaugurated in 1956 and is still the domicile of the Jena Geosciences today. Further chapters tell the eventful history of the Columbus globe, Emil Wiechert's oil painting and Walter Herbert's ceiling frescoes. The article delves into the dimensions of time via a geological excursion on the institute's premises, since the rocks used in the house and garden, such as travertine and shell limestone, were formed millions of years ago. The "unique selling points" of the study programs, the Moxa Geophysical Observatory, and the Mineralogical Collection are each covered in separate articles; in addition, the history of the Friends is presented.

    The style and content of the contributions vividly reflect the diversity of university institute life. The booklet is stimulating reading not only for former and future members of the geosciences, but also for socially and historically interested Jena* and Jenens* as well as all who are, were or want to be connected with Jena University. It is available in the Unishop de.

    Bibliographical data

    Christoph Heubeck (ed.): "25 Jahre Institut für Geowissenschaften. Menschen, Konzepte und Ideen", Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena 2018, 134 pages with numerous illustrations, ISBN-No. 978-3-9818697-9-8, (available for € 8.95 via the Uni-Shop Jena de.)

    Contact the author

    Prof. Dr. Christoph Heubeck, 

    Tel. +49 3641 9-48620

    Fax:+49 3641 9-48622


  • The ceiling frescoes
    Frescoed painting on the middle floor. European cultural circle
    Frescoed painting on the middle floor. European cultural circle
    Image: IGW

    The ceiling frescoes

    In the foyer of the Institute, the artist Walter Herbert applied various frescoes on the ceilings of the different floors with themes from American, European and Asian cultures.

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  • 20th anniversary
    Historic picture of Jena
    Historic picture of Jena
    Image: IGW

    20th anniversary


    On 09.11.2012 a festive event was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Institute.

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Former professorships

The history of the Institute is, of course, shaped to a great extent by the achievements and accomplishments of the active, but also the former professors.

An overview of retired professors can be found on this page. de