Getty Grant for Einstein Tower

The Einstein Tower on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam, Germany ( R. Arlt / Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP))

Getty Grant for Einstein Tower

25 June 2015. The Getty Foundation announces a second series of grants for exemplary 20th century buildings as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. The Einstein Tower receives one of the fourt...

„The Einstein Tower takes a particular role in our efforts to actively maintain our rich science-historical heritage,“ says Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz Chairman of the AIP Board.  „The Getty Grant allows us to develop a sustainable long-term conservation plan and maintain the Einstein Tower as a science-technical landmark, monument and active research facility.“

The solar observatory at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam, better known as the Einstein Tower, is architect Erich Mendelsohn’s signature building and a paragon of German expressionism.

As the first solar tower telescope in Europe, the building was intended to support Einstein’s study of relativity, and it continues to function as a research center today. Breaking away from the paradigm of rectangular post and beam architecture, Mendelsohn crafted an organic and sinuous form to reflect the new models of the universe then in development. The use of reinforced concrete to create a smooth, unified skin over the building’s brick substrate was innovative at the time and enabled its expressive plastic form. However, this experimental combination of materials has left the structure vulnerable to water infiltration that threatens the safety of its scientific equipment.

The Getty grant will support an in-depth study of the building’s moisture problems, including the thermal stress of fluctuating seasonal conditions that is a shared concern among concrete buildings in temperate climates.

“Modern architecture is a defining artistic form of the 20th century at considerable risk, often due to the cutting-edge building materials that characterized the movement,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “This new round of Keeping It Modern grants includes some of the finest examples of modern architecture in the world. The grant projects address challenges for the field of architectural conservation and will have impact far beyond the individual buildings to be conserved.”


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Keeping It Modern Press Release

Getty Foundation



Head of Solar Observatory Einstein Tower: apl. Prof. Dr. Carsten Denker, +49 331 7499-297

Press and Public Outreach: Dr. Janine Fohlmeister,, +49 331 7499-383

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Emil Popow (1950-2015)

Emil Popow

Emil Popow (1950-2015)

On June 19 2015 our dear colleague Emil Popow passed away. Over a period of more than 40 years, Emil Popow took part in the life of the AIP and made fundamental contributions to the development of ...

Emil Popow was born on December 28, 1950 in Varna, Bulgaria. In September 1967, he began an apprenticeship at the Zentralinstitut für Astrophysik Potsdam (ZIAP) with Jochen Engelbrecht.

After qualifying as a technical assistant Emil Popow worked for the engineering department at ZIAP.  He received his Diploma degree in Physics from the Humboldt University Berlin in 1977.

From 1977 on, Emil Popow made fundamental contributions to the development of photoelectric sensors and charge-coupled devices. In 1992 he started working in the research technology and infrastructure department of AIP and became head of the technical section in 2003. Until 2014 Emil Popow contributed to the development of telescopes and instruments like PMAS, STELLA, the LBT and GREGOR.

We will deeply miss him as our friend and colleague, and we will always remember his great dedication to the institute.

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13 June: Long Night of Sciences

Great Refractor on Telegrafenberg.

13 June: Long Night of Sciences

The Long Night of Sciences took place on Saturday, 13 June in Berlin and on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam. The Einstein Tower and Great Refractor welcomed many curious visitors.

On this rare occasion the Einstein Tower opened for visitors. The interior oft the building could be visited during guided tours. Guests learned about the physics of our Sun from AIP scientists.

In the Great Refractor we offered talks about astronomy as well as music and hands-on science for children.

As a highlight we observed the night sky with the world´s fourth largest refracting telescope.


Further information and program:

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Nachruf Marie-Luise Strohbusch

Marie-Luise Strohbusch

Nachruf Marie-Luise Strohbusch

8. Juni 2015. Mit Trauer erfüllt uns die Nachricht vom Tod unserer ehemaligen Kollegin Marie-Luise Strohbusch.

Geboren am 8. Mai 1934, starb sie am 3. Juni 2015 in Potsdam.

1953 wurde sie unter der Leitung von Prof. Walter Grotrian Mitarbeiterin am Astrophysikalischen Observatorium Potsdam auf dem Telegrafenberg und war über vier Jahrzehnte bis 1999 am Institut tätig.

Auch nach ihrem Eintritt in den Ruhestand blieb sie dem Institut eng verbunden. Seit 1997 arbeitete sie maßgeblich im Förderverein „Großer Refraktor Potsdam e.V.“ mit und war bis März diesen Jahres die Schatzmeisterin des Fördervereins.

Am 4. Oktober 2004 wurde ihr von Bundespräsident Horst Köhler das Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande überreicht.

- Für ihr Engagement für den Großen Refraktor auf dem Telegrafenberg

- Und für 40 Jahre Kirchenälteste an der Evangelischen Nikolaikirchengemeinde Potsdam

Vielen von Ihnen ist sie bekannt als Mitglied des Fördervereins Großer Refraktor, unermüdlich darin das AIP in der Öffentlichkeit bekannt zu machen und gute Seele vom Telegrafenberg.

Wir haben eine engagierte, liebenswerte Mitarbeiterin verloren, die wir immer in Erinnerung behalten werden.


Die Trauerfeier findet am Montag, dem 15.06.2015 um 9:30 Uhr in der Nikolaikirche statt mit anschließender Beisetzung um 11:00 Uhr auf dem Neuen Friedhof in Potsdam.

Im Anschluss besteht die Möglichkeit zum Zusammenkommen bei Kaffee und Imbiss im Gemeinderaum der Nikolaikirche.

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The Milky Way’s History: 592. WE-Heraeus-Seminar

1 June 2015. In the first week of June 2015 the 592. WE-Hereaus Seminar in Bad Honnef brings together representatives from the extensive ground-based surveys, spacecraft missions CoRoT, Kepler and ...

The mechanisms of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way are encoded in the kinematics, chemistry and ages of its stars. Deciphering the assembly history of our Galaxy requires large-scale ground-based spectroscopic surveys able to map large portions of the Galaxy. An enourmous effort is ongoing with large spectrosopic surveys such as RAVE, SEGUE, LAMOST, Gaia-ESO, APOGEE and GALAH, from which stellar parameters, radial velocities and the abundances of several chemical elements can be measured. The availability of asteroseismic constraints for populations of stars calls for a novel scientific collaboration that combines expertise from diverse areas of astrophysics, such as models of Galactic and stellar evolution, model atmospheres, asteroseismology and spectroscopy.

Cristina Chiappini, chair of the organizing team and scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, says: “We greatly encourage the participation of PhD students and young postdocs as they will be the main users of the future ground based and space facilities in this field.” The involvement of young generations in frontier science topics is one of the main goals of the “Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung”.

This seminar is generously funded by the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung.

The Physikzentrum  (Physics Center) is run by the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft e. V. (DPG) and is jointly supported by the University of Bonn and the state of North Rhine – Westphalia.

Science contact: Cristina Chiappini,


The key topics of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. Since 1992 the AIP is a member of the Leibniz Association

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