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Mourning for Professor Dr. Klaus Gottstein

Professor Dr. Klaus Gottstein in the year 2002

Professor Dr. Klaus Gottstein in the year 2002 (Photo: Universität der Bundeswehr München)

The Max Planck Institute for Physics is mourning the loss of its scientific Emeritus Professor Dr. Klaus Gottstein, who died on 20 March 2020 aged 96. Klaus Gottstein was a highly respected physicist and peace researcher, who with his many scientific papers earned longstanding acclaim in two very different research fields.

As a young man, he already attracted attention in the scientific world through his creative research in experimental elementary particle physics. Even at that early stage, his work made a very important contribution to research in cosmic rays.

Klaus Gottstein began his scientific career at the Max Planck Society as the head of a research group at what was then the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics. In 1962, he was made a Scientific Member of the Institute.

From the 1970s onwards, Klaus Gottstein increasingly turned his attention to the field of political science, while continuing his pioneering basic research in physics. From 1971 to 1974, he worked as the scientific attaché at the German Embassy in Washington D.C.

From 1974 to 1980, Klaus Gottstein worked at the Max Planck Institute for Research into Living Conditions in the Scientific and Technical World in Starnberg, with Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker as Director.

In 1984, the Max Planck Society founded an independent research unit and appointed Klaus Gottstein as Director there. The aim of this group, which he headed until he retired in 1992, was to investigate issues at the interface of science and politics.

In his role as advisor to parliament and the federal government, he made a key contribution towards ensuring that politicians increasingly paid attention to scientific findings when making decisions about the long-term future.

In 2011, Klaus Gottstein was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his research work.

He remained a close associate of his home Institute until his death, and was a frequent and welcome guest at various events.

The Max Planck Institute for Physics and the Max Planck Society bid a grateful farewell to Klaus Gottstein. His memory will be honored.