As in many other respects, Berlin also reflects the fate of the mathematical sciences in Germany in an exemplary way. Mathematics in Berlin has a long glorious tradition, dating back to Leibniz, Euler and Weierstraß. It suffered terrible losses during the thirties and again after the war when Berlin became divided and mathematical exchange almost vanished. Today, after the fall of the wall, a new mathematical community is being formed holding bright promise for the future.
There are three universities in Berlin. The oldest is the Humboldt-Universität, founded in 1809, one of whose first professors of mathematics was Dirichlet, the Technische Universität, founded in 1879, and the Freie Universität, which started in 1948 in the American sector and which today is one of the largest universities in Germany. Besides the university departments there are two major research institutes, the Weierstraß-Institut für Angewandte Analysis und Stochastik (WIAS), and the Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik (ZIB). Berlin also hosts the editorial office of the Zentralblatt für Mathematik. In 1991 a new university was founded in Potsdam, a city neighboring Berlin, which, after the German reunification, became the capital of the newly formed state of Brandenburg. Potsdam University also has an active mathematics department.
For the current mathematical events in Berlin and Potsdam, please have a look at the Schedule of Events.
About 2500 students study mathematics at the various institutions, and there are many jointly conducted research projects. Today Berlin has all the attributes to again become an outstanding center of learning and research with a lively exchange from East and West.
The international community of mathematicians assembled for the first time in Germany at Heidelberg in 1904. The German mathematicians are proud that, at the end of this century, with Berlin Germany was again chosen as the site of an ICM and as a symbol of a new and ever closer relationship in all matters, political, human, and scientific.
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Last modified: December 11, 1997