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In the fall of 1965, after 18 months of military service in the German Bundeswehr, where I did not exceed the rank of private, I began to study physics at the Technische Universität München. A major reason for choosing physics was an interest in physical, especially astronomical problems, aroused by popular books on this subject. The book I most clearly remember was a popular review of the state of astronomy by Fred Hoyle, describing the impact of modern physics on astronomy, and the recent achievements and open questions in that field. The Technische Universität München was the obvious choice because Rudolf L. Moessbauer had just accepted a professorship at the TUM; moreover Munich is only about 100 km from Zusamaltheim.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1988
Together with Robert Huber and Hartmut Michel, for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction center.
In the fall of 1963, I took up the study of physics at the "Technische Hochschule" in Munich. The Technische Hochschule, in some contrast to typical German universities had a pretty tight schedule with quite an amount of problem-oriented course work supplementing ordinary lectures. Such training was of great help for many aspects of my subsequent research work.
Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1991
Together with Bert Sakmann, for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells.
I have very happy recollections of my years at the Technische Universität München. They were a challenge. I worked hard, learnt a lot and had great fun.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Nobel Prize in Physics 2001
For the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.
I am design engineer at Infineon Technologies' Memory Products Division. Within a team of about eight colleges - doing circuit design - I am in charge of developing SGRAM Memory Chips for High Speed Graphic Boards. The challenge of this job is to realize enhanced data rates with minimum chip size. So it is obvious that there is a need for specialized knowledge. Except of knowing circuit design it is even more important to understand the details of basic physical processes in a semiconductor chip. To fulfill these requirements the study of physics - particularly with special field semiconductor physics - was the very best decision (Diploma 1996).
Infineon Technologies AG
I was attracted to the Technische Universität München because of the wide range of fields it offered in physics. After two years of 'basics' at another university I was not quite sure which direction to take and was quite simply amazed at the number of options the Technical University had to offer. Even after all those years, I still fondly remember courses I never used in any practical way, but simply enjoyed.
Obtaining a degree in physics started out as a personal interest of mine and ended up by opening up a wide range of opportunities. Although, in the end, you need to focus on one particular topic - regardless of whether you pursue an academic career or one in industry - physics provides you with more than simply specialized knowledge. To me, what counted most was the way in which you learn how to approach challenges in a clear and scientific manner. Moreover, the Walter Schottky Institut, where I did my Master's and Ph.D. thesis, with all its visiting scientists and open-minded atmosphere, not only promotes both independence and team work, but also offers unique opportunities to learn how to present your work effectively and to gain an insight into project management.
Senior manager DRAM technology development
In the winter term of 1973/74 only a very few students started studying physics at the Technische Universität München. In other words, we were no more than a big 'gang' with a hard core of perhaps some 20 - 30 idealists. Everyone had terribly good Abitur (the German university entrance qualification) grades, some even had 1.0 (the top grade). The majority of us had based our decision to study physics on pure enthusiasm for the subject, after all, at the beginning of the 70's the job prospects were not exactly great. Although I got the best Abitur grades of anyone at my high school in Hessen, I had to work very hard as I was considerably behind my fellow students from Bavaria. After two semesters we were confronted with the tough first diploma I examinations which a lot of the students failed. I was only 18 when I started studying and I had to work really hard at mathematics to improve my grade from a "4", which I got in the first diploma II examinations, to a "1" within the next year.
During the fourth semester we were expected to get our course certificate in quantum mechanics. This meant more hard work but afterwards, in the fifth semester, it was a wonderful feeling, because of this, to be able to understand experimental solid-state physics and nuclear physics more easily. Now there were even fewer students regularly attending the lectures that were meanwhile taking place in the physics department in Garching. Soon we had got to know many of the professors personally and had managed to gain a valuable insight into the real world of physical research, above all, because the majority of us were also given the opportunity to work as temporary student employees in one of the institutes. In those days there were a lot of parties as there was always something to celebrate: doctoral degrees, post doctoral lecturing qualifications, Christmas, and all sorts of other anniversaries. The parties usually took place between the lecture halls. In the summer they were on the lawn in front of the back entrance. We students were often allowed to join in.
After eight semesters, at the age of 22, I was ready to take, and pass, the four oral examinations necessary for my diploma. After that it was a wonderful feeling to be able to pop into the lectures, understand (nearly) everything, and ask clever questions. I then left Munich to go to ILL in Grenoble to do experimental work for my diploma dissertation and my wonderful time as a student at the Technische Universität München was over, a time that I enjoy thinking back to, even if somewhat wistfully.
Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung, Stuttgart