Marburg Castle sits majestically above the historic “upper town” and its ancient timbered houses − a symbol of both the city and the university to which it belongs; even today, the city is so tightly interwoven with the university with its 300 buildings that the locals say: “Other cities have a university, Marburg is a university.”
One in four Marburg residents studies or works at the University of Marburg − a relationship that is almost 500 years old. Hessian Landgrave Philipp not only invited Luther and Zwingli to Marburg for religious discussions, but when it was founded in 1527, he designated his university as Protestant, the world’s oldest. From the beginning, Marburg became a center of innovation: the university was the first in the world to create a professorship in chemistry (in 1609); the Brothers Grimm, studying in Marburg in 1806, developed the discipline of “German Studies”; the first Nobel Prize for Medicine went to Marburg’s Emil von Behring in 1901; one of five high-security labs in all of Europe will begin operations in 2007.
The University of Marburg is considered one of the most impressive German colleges of higher education in terms of research, and enjoys an outstanding reputation in international rankings, particularly in the life sciences. The close cooperation with Marburg’s Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology has also contributed to its high international profile for globally acclaimed research work on Ebola, SARS and the Marburg virus, discovered here in 1967.
At the same time, investigations into the molecular and cellular fundamentals of life processes are closely tied to the medical and pharmaceutical research at the neighboring University Hospital of Giessen and Marburg, where basic research findings and applied scientific knowledge are integrated for the benefit of patients as well. The Marburg material and nanoscientists are also dedicated to uncovering the molecular and atomic substructures of our world. Physicists and chemists research semiconductors, polymer systems and hybrid materials. In particular, research in the promising field of optodynamics in semiconductors is tremendously important inter nationally. The Marburg labs have also produced numerous patented materials and technologies − some of which have found use, for example, in innovative, high-efficiency microlaser systems. Others may serve as the future basis for quantum-based computer systems. One peculiarity of the University of Marburg is its broad range of departments, particularly in the traditionally important humanities and social sciences. It has enabled intellectuals from Marburg to propound upon the philosophical ideas of Kant, to the extent that one refers to the “Marburg School of Neokantianism.” There is also intense study of Occidental and Oriental culture as well as research into ancient cultures, the internationally recognized Tibetan Studies and the highly interdisciplinary Peace and Conflict Studies program. It is no coincidence that 12 percent of the roughly 20,000 students come from 120 nations. Exchange programs are particularly active with American universities, including more than 100 years of partnership with the Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA).
In addition, Marburg offers more than 100 different courses of study, many of which can be taken in English. Anyone interested in getting a taste of the Marburg University experience is invited to Marburg for the three-week International Summer University, which also has at tracted famous Americans such as Nobel Prize-winner T. S. Eliot.
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