We are proud to present a few of numerous bright minds originating from Baden-Württemberg.
This was a woman who wrote automobile history. Together with her two little sons, Eugen and Richard, Cäcilie Berta Benz was the first person to drive the patented motor car of her husband Carl Friedrich Benz, the journey taking them from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888. She thus showed the world that the future belonged to the "horseless carriage".
Born in Heidelberg and now a billionaire several times over, he was one of the most successful German company founders of the post-war period. Football patron, biotech promoter, golf club president, Dietmar Hopp helped to make SAP, the software corporation, into one of the biggest companies in the world. Thanks to his help and great love for "TSG 1899 Hoffenheim", the football club of his younger days, he ensured that the club was able to rise from the eighth division into the Bundesliga. For this exceptional man, there was and still is something that is particular dear to him: "I want to give back something to the region here".
In the 16th century, women were forbidden from taking up the profession of doctor. The young Agathe Streicher, however, succeeded in secretly acquiring profound medical knowledge and, in 1561, fought for and acquired permission to take the Hippocratic oath. Her healing successes were soon being talked about by everyone and numerous personalities travelled to Ulm to have themselves treated by her.
In 1886, the engineer and industrialist Robert August Bosch set up a workshop for precision mechanics and electronics: "Robert Bosch GmbH". He was significantly involved in the development of the combustion engine and the ignition, as a result of which his company became a globally leading supplier of electronics for the automotive industry. At the same time, Bosch supplied the first electronic components such as the starter motor, the alternator, the windscreen wiper and the spark plug. He also introduced the eight-hour day and financed construction of the Robert Bosch hospital in Stuttgart.
In the history of computer technology, women are hardly ever mentioned. Ilse Müller, however, who was born in Stuttgart, was one of the few pioneering figures of German EDP. Together with her husband Otto, she worked on the development of the TRX Telefunken computer in 1959 and, in 1972, established the company Computer Technik Müller (CTM) in Constance. In the 1980s, CTM developed Germany's first client-server architecture.
The Swabian design engineer Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler built the world's first motorbike and first motor boat. In collaboration with August Wilhelm Maybach, he set up an elaborate test workshop in Canstatt in 1882 . Here, he fitted a petrol engine into a normally horse-drawn carriage – the very first car with four wheels was thus created. This was a revolution although the patent on the car had already been secured by another inventor: Carl Benz.
"Reach out to the stars, look for something that is really important but is also new and risky." This was the credo of the biologist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. Since 1985, she has been a scientific member of the Max Planck Society and director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen. In 1995, she and two of her colleagues were awarded the Noble Prize for research on the fundamental genetic control mechanisms of early embryonal development.
Ferdinand von Zeppelin
"The fool of Lake Constance"
This man was not only a count and a cavalry general; he was also the initiator of the dirigible construction industry. Due to a series of accidents with his airships, he was also called the fool of Lake Constance. But it was one single accident that came to be associated with the history of the zeppelin. The Zeppelin donation of the German nation laid the foundations for the company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH and the Zeppelin Foundation, which still exist today.
Harald zur Hausen
With the valuable work he did in medicine, Harald zur Hausen was a great source of hope in the battle against cancer. His hypothesis that wart viruses (human papilloma viruses) play a role in the genesis of cervical cancer was originally met with scepticism. But Harald zur Hausen did not give up. On the basis of his insights, vaccines against the most common kind of cancer among women, namely cervical cancer, were finally developed. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 2008.
"The natural scientist"
Johannes Kepler was a German philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and astrologist. He discovered the laws governing the movement of planets around the sun. They are called Kepler's laws after him. Kepler was one of the founders of modern science. With his introduction to calculation with logarithms, Johannes Kepler also contributed to this branch of mathematics.