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This is a list of German inventors and discoverers. The following list comprises people from Germany or German-speaking Europe, and also people of predominantly German heritage, in alphabetical order of the surname.
Momme Andresen (1857-1951): industrial research chemist who made inventions relating to photography
Ottomar Anschütz: in 1883 he patented a camera with an internal roller blind shutter mechanism, just in front of the photographic plate. Thus the focal-plane shutter in modern recognizable form was born.
Manfred von Ardenne: Self-taught researcher, applied physicist, and inventor. 600 patents in fields including television and radio, electron microscopy, medical technology, nuclear technology, and plasma physics.
Adolf von Baeyer: Chemist. Synthesized indigo, discovered the phthalein dyes, and investigated polyacetylenes, oxonium salts, nitroso compounds (1869) and uric acid derivatives (1860 and onwards) including the discovery of barbituric acid (1864). Nobel laureate 1905.
Friedrich Bessel: astronomer; he is credited with being the first to use parallax in calculating the distance to a star.
Hans Bethe: Nuclear physicist and Nobel laureate in physics 1967. During World War II, he was head of the Theoretical Division at the secret Los Alamos laboratory which developed the first atomic bombs.
Emil Adolf von Behring: physiologist. Discovered the diphtheria antitoxin. It was the world's first cure for a disease (1891). He was awarded history's first Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine in 1901.
Melitta Bentz: entrepreneur. She is an inventor of the coffee filter, 1908.
Hans Berger: a German neurologist, best known as the inventor of electroencephalography (EEG) (the recording of "brain waves") in 1924, coining the name, and the discoverer of the alpha wave rhythm known as "Berger's wave"
Emil Berliner: He is best known for developing the microphone and disc recording gramophone.
Max Born: Physicist and mathematician. Groundbreaking work in quantum mechanics. Nobel laureate 1954 with Walther Bothe. His Ph.D. student Delbrück, and six of his assistants (Fermi, Heisenberg, Goeppert-Mayer, Herzberg, Pauli, Wigner) went on to win Nobel Prizes. His Ph.D. student J. Robert Oppenheimer led the project to develop the atomic bomb.
Manfred Börner: Physicist. Developed the first working fiber-optical data transmission system in 1965. Received a patent for an "electro-optical transmission system utilizing lasers".
Manfred Curry: German American yachtsman, developed the cam cleat used on sailboats to easily and quickly secure a rope, discoverer of the pseudoscientific phenomenon of "geomagnetic lines" called the Curry Grid.
Gerhard Ertl: German physicist who laid the foundation of modern surface chemistry, which has helped explain how fuel cells produce energy without pollution, how catalytic converters clean up car exhausts and even why iron rusts, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. Nobel laureate as of 2007.
Leonhard Euler: Swiss mathematician and physicist. One of the most influential mathematicians of the 18th century.
Artur Fischer: Invented the (split) wallplug made of plastic in 1958. He invented flash light photography. Fischer held over 1100 patents and currently holds the records for most patents for any single human, even more than Thomas Alva Edison. Further inventions are (bone-)plugs for fixing bone fractures and one of Fischer's most recent inventions is a gadget that makes it possible to hold and cut the top off an egg of any size.
Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch: Invented a process in 1925 to turn coal into synthesis gas, and still further into liquid hydrocarbons. The process is a key component in modern gas to liquids processes.
Otto Frenzl: Aeronautical pioneer, developed the area rule in 1943, a design technique for airfoils used to reduce an aircraft's drag at transonic and supersonic speeds. Later it was independently developed again by Richard T. Whitcomb in 1952.
Hermann Ganswindt: Inventor and spaceflight scientist, whose inventions (such as the dirigible, the helicopter, and the internal combustion engine) are thought to have been ahead of his time.
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss: German mathematician and physical scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics. Sometimes referred to as "the Prince of Mathematicians".
Heinrich Göbel: Inventor of Hemmer for Sewing Machines, 1865, Vacuum Pump (Improvement of the Geissler-System of vacuum pumps, 1881 and Electric Incandescent Lamp (sockets to connect the filament of carbon and the conducting wires), 1882
Fritz Haber: German chemist and Nobel laureate who pioneered synthetic ammonia and chemical warfare.
Theodor W. Hänsch: Physicist, developed laser-based precision spectroscopy further to determine optical frequency extremely accurately. Nobel laureate in 2005.
Otto Hahn: German chemist and Nobel laureate who pioneered the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. Considered to be "the father of nuclear chemistry" and the "founder of the atomic age". Discovered many isotopes, Protactinium and nuclear fission.
Harald zur Hausen: Virologist, discovered the role of papilloma viruses in the development of cervical cancer. His research made the development of a vaccine against papilloma possible, which will drastically reduce cervical cancer in future. Nobel laureate as of 2008.
Werner Heisenberg: Theoretical physicist who made fundamental contributions to quantum mechanics. Discovered a particle's position and velocity cannot be known at the same time. Discovered atomic nuclei are made of protons and neutrons.
Johannes Heidenhain: Invented the Metallur process. This lead-sulfide copying process made it possible for the first time to make exact copies of an original grating on a metal surface for industrial use. By 1943, Heidenhain was producing linear scales with accuracy of ± 15 µm and circular scale disks with accuracy of ± 3 angular seconds.
Karl Andreas Hofmann: German inorganic chemist who is best known for his discovery of a family of clathrates which consist of a 2-D metal cyanide sheet, with every second metal also bound axially to two other ligands. These materials have been named 'Hofmann clathrates' in his honour.
Robert Koch: Physician, discoverer, inventor and Nobel Prize winner. He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the tuberculosis bacillus (1882), and Vibrio cholerae (1883), and for his development of Koch's postulates.
Max von Laue: Discoveries regarding the diffraction of X-rays in crystals.
Ernst Lecher: He is remembered for developing an apparatus— "Lecher lines"—to measure the wavelength and frequency of electromagnetic waves.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Philosopher known for discovering the mathematical field of calculus and coherently laying down its basic operations in 1684. The modern binary number system, the basis for binary code, was invented by Gottfried Leibniz in 1679 and appears in his article Explication de l'Arithmétique Binaire.
Maria Goeppert-Mayer: Maria Goeppert Mayer was a German-born American theoretical physicist, and Nobel laureate in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, after Marie Curie
Gregor Mendel: Discoveries in genetics. Mendel demonstrated that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance. First published in 1865.
Ottmar Mergenthaler: Inventor who has been called a second Gutenberg because of his invention of the Linotype machine.
Paul Gottlieb Nipkow: Technician and inventor, the "spiritual father" of the core element of first generation television technology.
Emmy Noether: Mathematician. Groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics (Noether's theorem). Considered by many as the most influential woman in the history of mathematics.
Fritz Reiche: Was a student of Max Planck and a colleague of Albert Einstein, who was active in, and made important contributions to the early development of quantum mechanics including co-authoring the Thomas-Reiche-Kuhn sum rule.
Paul Schmidt: Developed since 1928 his idea of a new drive, the "pulsating incineration", also used in the V-1 flying bomb (engine was called "Argus-Schmidtrohr"); pulsejet was a development by Schmidt.
Georg Wilhelm Steller: Chief naturalist on Vitus Bering's expedition during which Alaska was discovered (1741) and pioneer of Alaskan Natural History. Steller's sea cow (now extinct) was named after him.
Hubertus Strughold: German-born physiologist and prominent medical researcher. For his role in pioneering the study of the physical and psychological effects of manned spaceflight he became known as "The Father of Space Medicine".
Dietrich "Diedrich" Uhlhorn: Engineer, mechanic and inventor, who invented the first mechanical tachometer (1817), between 1817 and 1830 inventor of the Presse Monétaire (level coin press known as Uhlhorn Press) which bears his name.
Rudolf Virchow: "Father of modern pathology"; numerous discoveries in the area of medicine.
Hans Vogt: Invented sound-on-film (idea 1905) together with Jo Engl and Joseph Massolle, first sound-on-film for the public on 17 September 1922 in Filmtheater Alhambra, Berlin, Germany.
Woldemar Voigt (often: Waldemar Voigt): Physicist, who taught at the Georg August University of Göttingen. He worked on crystal physics, thermodynamics and electro-optics. He discovered the Voigt effect in 1898.
^Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger (1770-1829), known as the "Flying Tailor of Ulm", started with flight experiments in Ulm, Germany, in the early 19th century. He gained experience in downhill gliding with a maneuverable airworthy semi-rigid hang-glider and then attempted to cross the Danube River at Ulm's Eagle's Bastion on 31 May 1811. The tricky local winds caused him to crash and he was rescued by fishermen, making him the first survivor of a water immersion accident of a heavier-than-air manned "flight machine". Though he failed in his attempt to be the first man to fly, Berblinger can be regarded as one of the significant aviation pioneers who applied the "heavier than air" principle and paved the way for the more effective glide-flights of Otto Lilienthal (1891) and the Wright Brothers (1902). Less known are Berblinger's significant contributions to the construction of artificial limbs for medical use, as well as the spring-application in aviation. His invention of a special mechanical joint was also used for the juncture of the wings of his "flying machine". Because of his worthwhile contributions to medicine and flight, in 1993 the German Academy of Aviation Medicine named an annual award for young scientists in the field of aerospace medicine in his honor.