Universität WienAn Historical Tour of the University of Vienna

Archiv der Universität Wien



The Nobel Prize goes back to a bequest of the Swedish industrialist and inventor, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). In accordance with his wishes the prize is given annually to those scientists (in physics, chemistry and medicine), writers or promoters of world peace who have rendered the greatest service to humanity. Of all academic prizes these enjoy the greatest prestige, which reflects not only on the prize-winners themselves, but also on the Departments and Universities to which they are connected. On the model of the Nobel Foundation, in 1969 the Swedish National Bank brought into being the Nobel Memorial prize which is awarded for economics. This award is now also publicly considered a 'Nobel Prize' like all the others. The following list includes all those prize-winners who spent at least a part of their academic career in the University of Vienna.


Robert Bárány, Otologist (b. Vienna 1876, d. Uppsala 1936)
After obtaining his doctorate in Medicine in Vienna in 1900 he began work at the Vienna Ear Clinic (Director: Adam Politzer) and obtained his teaching licence as a Docent in 1909. In 1917 he was appointed professor of ear, nose and throat disorders in Uppsala. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1914. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Julius Wagner-Jauregg, Psychiatrist (b. Wels 1857, d. Vienna 1940)
He began his academic career as an assistant in the First Psychiatric University Clinic in Vienna (Leidesdorf). After his Habilitation in 1885 he taught in Graz (from 1889) but was then appointed to an ordinary professorship in Vienna in 1893. Here he was initially Director of the First Psychiatric Clinic and then, from 1902-1928, of the Second Psychiatric Clinic. He invented "Malaria-therapy" for the treatment of progressive paralysis. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1927. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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On the controversial discussion about his involvement in the National-Socialism:
Exculpatory report: Gustav Hofmann/Brigitte Kepplinger/Gerhart Marckhgott/Hartmut Reese: Gutachten zur Frage des Amtes der Oö. Landesregierung,"ob der Namensgeber der Landes-Nervenklinik [Julius Wagner-Jauregg] als historisch belastet angesehen werden muss. 2005"
Critical report: Wolfgang Neugebauer / Peter Schwarz: Nobelpreisträger im Zwielicht. Zur historisch-politischen Beurteilung von Julius Wagner-Jauregg (1857-1940). In: Erinnerungskultur. Jahrbuch des Dokumentationsarchivs des österreichischen Widerstandes 2006. (Lit Verlag) Münster:2006


Hans Fischer, Chemist (b. 1881 Höchst a. M., d. Munich 1945)
He was widely respected for his research on haemoglobin and chlorophyll, and on the synthesis of haemin. He also succeeded in explaining the constitution of chlorophyll. Fischer held chairs in Innsbruck (1916-18), Vienna (1918-21) and Munich (1921-45). He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1930. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Karl Landsteiner, Immunologist (b. Vienna 1868, d. New York 1943)
After graduating in Medicine from Vienna in 1891, he first worked in the First Surgical Clinic. He then became an assistant in the Institute of Hygiene and, in 1897, moved to the Department of Pathological Anatomy where he remained until 1907. In 1901 he published a very brief presentation of his discovery of blood groups. It was only 30 years later that the significance of his discovery was fully appreciated. In 1903 Landsteiner became a Dozent in Vienna, and in 1911 an extra-ordinary professor and director of the dissection laboratory of the Wilhelminian Hospital. In 1920 he went to Holland, and in 1922 was appointed to the Rockefeller Institute in New York. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1930. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Erwin Schrödinger, Physicist (b. Vienna 1887, d. Vienna 1961)
He began his career in 1911 as assistant to Franz Exner in Vienna and in 1914 became a Dozent in theoretical physics. After 1920 he held chairs in Jena, Stuttgart, Breslau and Zürich (where he succeeded Einstein), and in 1927 he was appointed to Berlin as successor to Max Planck. In 1933 he went to Oxford, and from 1936-1938 he taught at the University of Graz. During the war he worked in Dublin, finally returning to Vienna in 1956. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Schrödinger-Exhibition at the Austrian Central Library for Physics


Viktor Franz Hess, Physicist (b. 1883 Schloß Waldstein, d. 1964 Mt. Vernon, U.S.A.)
After studying in Graz he worked under Franz Exner at the Department of Physics in Vienna, becoming a Dozent in 1910 and an assistant at the new Institute of Radium Research. The discovery of cosmic radiation is particularly associated with him. Hess was appoined to Graz in 1920 and in 1931 to Innsbruck. In 1937 he returned to Graz but was forced to emigrate in 1938. He obtained a professorship at Fordham University in New York. He won the Nobel prize for Physics in 1936. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Otto Loewi, Physiologist and Pharmacologist (b. 1873 Frankfurt/Main, d. New York 1961)
In 1905 Loewi came to Vienna as assistant to his teacher Hans Horst Meyer and was appointed Extra-Ordinary Professor of Pharmacology in 1906. In 1909 he accepted an appointment in Graz. In 1938 he emigrated, first to England, but then obtained a professorship at the New York Medical School. The proof that the effects of stimulation of vegetative nerves is chemically transmitted to organs they govern was his greatest discovery. He won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1936. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Konrad Lorenz, Biologist (b. 1903 Vienna, d. 1989 Vienna)
The founder of Comparative Behavioural Research initially studied Medicine in Vienna, and then Zoology. He worked as assistant at the Second Anatomical Institute under Professor Hochstetter. In 1937 he became Dozent in Zoology and in 1940 Professor of Comparative Psychology in Königsberg (today: Kaliningrad). In 1949 he founded the Department of Comparative Behavioural Research in Vienna and from 1961 was head of the Institute of Behavioural Psychology of the Max Planck Society in Seewiesen (Bavaria). In 1973 he returned to Austria. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1973. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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Konrad Lorenz and National Socialism:
Konrad Lorenz, Österreich und die Nazi-Vergangenheit (from: dieUniversitaet.at)
Konrad Lorenz und der Nationalsozialismus - verstrickte Wissenschaft (from: dieUniversitaet-online.at)
Braune Flecken am Frackhemd (from: heureka! 4/2001)


Friedrich A. von Hayek, Economist (b. 1899 Vienna, d. 1992 Freiburg im Breisgau)
Hayek studied at the University of Vienna, gaining doctorates in Law (1921) and Political Science (1923). At an early age he published scholarly works in which he developed the foundations of his economic theory, for which he was later to be awarded the Nobel Prize. From 1929-1932 he worked as an external teacher at the University of Vienna. Further steps in his career were the London School of Economics, (British citizenship from 1938), the Universities of Chicago 1950 and Freiburg im Breisgau (1962). After retirement he worked as a Visiting Professor in Salzburg. In 1974 he won the Nobel memorial Prize for Economics. (Photo in the Archive of the University of Vienna)
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