History

About the Society

The Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte e. V. (GDNÄ) is one of the oldest German scientific associations. It was founded in 1822 by the natural philosopher and doctor Lorenz Oken. The name of the GDNÄ has survived from this period, when the nowadays unusual term “natural scientist” was used for the profession of natural scientists.

With the first meeting, which took place in Leipzig on 18 September 1822, the GDNÄ will become the central lecture and discussion forum for new research findings at its annual meetings. Until the 20th century, the GDNÄ was an important forum for fundamental debates in medicine and the natural sciences. As a result of an increasing specialisation, the GDNÄ has developed into numerous professional associations in which the specialist discussions are currently being held.

The GDNÄ remains with its broad spectrum and, since its re-establishment after the Second World War, has continued the tradition of dialogue between the sciences as well as between science and the public in the fields of natural sciences, medicine and technology. To this day, great personalities have shaped the fortunes of the GDNÄ.

The commemorative publication on the 200th anniversary of the founding provides detailed information on the development of the Natural Research Society.

>> “A Brief History of the GDNÄ” (PDF, Dietrich von Engelhardt)

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The GDNÄ founder Lorenz Oken is commemorated in Jena to this day by a monument on Fürstengraben, where the main building of Friedrich Schiller University also stands. Oken was professor of medicine and natural history in Jena from 1807 to 1819, but had to resign from his post because of his liberal views and at Goethe’s insistence. © Jörg Junhold
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Die Abbildung zeigt einen Ausschnitt aus Alexander von Humboldts spektakulärem „Naturgemälde der Anden“ (1807). Der große Naturforscher prägte die frühe Geschichte der GDNÄ. Bei der Versammlung 1836 in Jena sprach er „Über zwei Besteigungen des Chimborazo“.