Department of Physics and Astronomy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy mourns the passing of
Prof. Dirk Schwalm,
who died on the 14th July, 2016, at the age of 76. Dirk Schwalm was Full Professor of Experimental Physics at the Physikalisches Institut of Heidelberg University and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics. We lose in him an outstanding scientist of international standing, whose pioneering research extended from nuclear physics through atomic and molecular physics up to astrochemistry. Characteristic for his style of work was his uncompromising stance for high quality and integrity in the research produced. Taking the role of a benevolent mentor, he supported many young physicists on their paths to successful careers. As a dedicated teacher, he enthused generations of students in gaining a deep understanding of the fundamental physics laws governing nature. The Department of Physics and Astronomy will hold his memory as an exemplary researcher in science and university professor in honour. Prof. Matthias Weidemüller Dean, Department of Physics and Astronomy


The department of physics and astronomy is dedicated to a broadly laid-out programme of teaching and research. It feels itself committed to Humboldt's ideal of teaching rooted in research and sees its research programme an the borders of knowledge as a pre­requisite for teaching and training its students at high quality.
random picture from area research


Research encompasses core areas of fundamental physics as well as inter­disciplinary border areas. In the core areas, research focuses on elementary particle physics, the structure and evolution of the universe, and the properties of complex classical and quantum systems. The inter­disciplinary border areas include environ­mental physics, bio- and medical physics as well as technical computer science. Research is located at 4 department institutes and the Heidelberg Centre for Astronomy. Apart from that, the research environment in Heidelberg is distinguished by a multitude of extra-university research institutions which are topically and personally closely connected to the department. ... more.

Physics degrees

The courses of studies include a Bachelor-Masters programme, the state examination for teachers at secondary schools and a doctoral programme with a wide scope. The department is currently educating ca. 1400 students. Among them are 900 in the undergraduate and Diploma or Masters courses, and 500 in the doctoral programme. With ca 170 Masters graduations and 100 doctoral degrees awarded per year, Heidelberg is at the top of all German physics departments. Education and training are strongly oriented towards research. The Bachelor course is offered in German only, the Master course in English. ... more.