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Chapter 22. Stadtfriedhof, Göttingen, Germany

51° 31′ 53.71″ N, 9°54′ 37.18″ E

An Elephant's Graveyard

The 1,000-year-old city of Göttingen in Germany is best known for its famous university. The Georg-August-Universität Göttingen was founded in 1734 and has welcomed some of the greatest scientists of Europe (as well as assorted kings and politicians including Otto von Bismarck). Sadly, Göttingen is rarely mentioned among the top European universities (Oxford, Cambridge, and others get that honor), but it has fostered some of the best scientific minds of the last 300 years.

The mathematicians Wilhelm Ackermann, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Richard Dedekind Bernhard Riemann, Felix Klein, Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet, and David Hilbert all studied or taught at the university. The physicists associated with the university include Paul Dirac (Nobel Prize in 1933), Max Born (Nobel Prize in 1954) J. Robert Oppenheimer (see also page 415), Max Planck (Nobel Prize in 1918), Enrico Fermi (Nobel Prize in 1938), Werner Heisenberg (Nobel Prize in 1932), and Wolfgang Pauli (Nobel Prize in 1945). Chemists are also well represented: Adolf Butenandt (Nobel Prize in 1939), Otto Hahn (Nobel Prize in 1944), Walter Haworth (Nobel Prize in 1937), Gerhard Herzberg (Nobel Prize in 1971), Irving Langmuir (Nobel Prize in 1932), and Walther Nernst (Nobel Prize in 1920). Other Nobel laureates studied or...