Famous people who studied at University of Stuttgart

Bildnachweis: estherm / photocase.de

If you study or are planning to study at the University of Stuttgart and want to find out why this is a brilliant institution to be associated with, here’s a list of its past students who made a name for themselves and their university around the world. Get inspired!

Gottlieb Daimler

Probably the most famous alumnus of University of Stuttgart to this date, Gottlieb Daimler was the inventor of motor engine – an invention which revolutionised mobility in ways never imagined before. Born in Schorndorf in 1834, Daimler took technical drawing classes and worked as a gunmaker before he acquired technical knowledge which led to his great invention. He gained practical experience in mechanical engineering in France and attended university in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859.

Gottlieb Daimler

During his tenure as a workshop inspector at the engineering factory of Bruderhaus Reutlingen (an institution for the socially disadvantaged), Daimler met Wilhelm Maybach who will go on to become his business partner and friend for years to come.

With relevant work experience in France, England and Germany, Daimler bought a villa in Cannstatt in 1882 and set up a workshop in its garden to work on his idea of building a motor engine which could move people on earth, water and air.

Wilhelm Maybach

As introduced above, Wilhelm Maybach was a lifelong business partner of Daimler who shared the same goal as his friend of creating small, high-speed engines to be fitted in locomotion device. Internationally known as the King of Designers in the 1890s, Maybach was born in Heilbronn in 1846 and trained at Bruderhaus Reutlingen for technical skills.

In 1882, Maybach followed Daimler to Cannstatt to work on the idea of a lightweight, high-speed internal combustion engine. A year later, he developed the first experimental horizontal engine and then the Grandfather Clock engine with a vertical cylinder. With the ambition to work beyond simple coaches, Maybach developed steel-wheeled car with gear wheel transmission – a design which was introduced to the world at the 1889 World Fair in Paris, making Maybach partly responsible for developing French motor industry.

Maybach was appointed as chief engineer when Daimler founded Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890. Despite on and off association with the company, Maybach developed the tubular radiator, the honeycomb radiator and the first four-cylinder automotive engine. His design for the first Mercedes caused a stir at the Nice Week, changing radically how cars were made.

Due to his world famous achievements, Maybach was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Stuttgart in 1916.

Ulf Merbold

Ulf Merbold. Er war als einziger Deutscher dreimal im All.

Born in Greiz in 1941, Merbold was the second German native to fly into space (second to Sigmund Jähn). He was also the first European Space Agency astronaut to go into space aboard a US flight in 1983 and to Russian space station Mir in 1994.

Merbold received a diploma in Physics from the Stuttgart University in 1968 and a doctorate in Sciences 1976. He then went on to join the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart to study solid state physics and low temperature physics.

For his outstanding work, Merbold has been granted with numerous awards such as the First Class Order of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of Merit of the States of Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Haley Space Flight Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Horst Störmer

A Nobel laureate for his achievements in the field of physics, Horst Störmer was born in Frankfurt in 1949. Coming from the family of carpenters, farmers and blacksmiths, Störmer struggled with English and German in school but excelled in science subjects. At the university level, he dabbled with design and architecture before moving completely to physics and mathematics education.

Störmer received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart in 1977 for his thesis on the properties of electron hole droplets in high magnetic fields. After finishing his PhD in two years, Störmer moved to United States to work for Bell Labs –  the research arm of American Telephone and Telegraph and the mecca of solid state research. This is where his research work on discovery of a new form of quantum fluid, in collaboration with Daniel Tsui and Robert Laughlin, brought him the Nobel Prize in Physics.

With a passion for teaching, Störmer left Bell Labs after 20 years of service and became the professor of physics and applied physics at Columbia University in New York City.

Gustav Bauernfeind

One of the most notable painters of the Eastern world, Gustav Bauernfeind was born in 1848 in Sulz am Neckar but soon moved to Stuttgart most likely to escape his father’s political past.

Bauernfeind completed his architecture studies between 1864 and 1869 at the University of Stuttgart and soon began his career as an architect. However, he wasn’t fully satisfied with the jobs and projects he undertook and then in 1881, he finally took his first journey to the East.

The work of Bauernfeind is a beautiful amalgamation of elements f

rom Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures, making the painter famous among art lovers of the Middle East but also Europe and America and achieving sales in seven-digit range. However, during his lifetime, Bauernfeind struggled with selling his art and was often plagued with self-doubt. He was quickly forgotten after his death and only became known to the world when a citizen of the town of Sulz am Neckar, Hugo Schmid, rediscovered his art in the 70s and wrote a biography.    

Achilles Papapetrou

Born in 1907, Greek physicist Achilles Papapetrou was a leading researcher in the field of general relativity for more 50 years. He is known for the Mathisson–Papapetrou–Dixon equations, the Majumdar–Papapetrou solution, and the Weyl−Lewis−Papapetrou coordinates of gravity theory.

After studying mechanical and electrical engineering in Athens between 1925 and 1930, Papapetrou moved to Germany for his doctorate studies at the University of Stuttgart in 1934. Later, Papapetrou went back to Athens to teach electrical engineering and took part in Greek resistance to German occupation. He then worked as a researcher in Dublin and Manchester before moving to East Berlin where he trained young physicists and conducted research on gravitational shock waves and equations of motion.

In addition to his groundbreaking research work and training of the young generation of scientists, Papapetrou wrote over a hundred articles and two highly regarded textbooks, one on special relativity in German and one on general relativity in English.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer

Foto: CERN/Maximilien Brice – https://cds.cern.ch/record/1154951

German physicist Rolf-Dieter Heuer headed CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics near Geneva, as its director-general from 2009 to 2015. He studied physics at the University of Stuttgart and worked as a staff member at CERN from 1984 to 1998. For most part, he worked on the construction and operation of large particle detector systems for studying electron-positron collisions.

Heuer left CERN in 1998 and started teaching at the University of Hamburg, where he worked on preparations for experiments for possible future electron-positron linear collider. In 2009, he returned to CERN as its director general.

Heuer has been awarded with honourary degrees by several universities such as University of Birmingham and University of Liverpool. He was also awarded with German Order of Merit and  UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal as well as appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Martin Jetter

Joining IBM in 1986 as application engineer in an industrial branch office, today Martin Jetter is Senior Vice President of IBM Global Technology Services. Jetter studied mechanical engineering with special focus on field automation at the University of Stuttgart.

Jetter held several position at IBM before becoming the senior vice president such as General Manager and President of IBM Japan, Vice President of Corporate Strategy at IBM Corporation as well General Manager of IBM Germany.



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