History of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

The HZB emerged from the amalgamation of the Hahn-Meitner Institute (HMI) and the Berliner Elektronen-Speicherring Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung (organisation for conducting synchrotron radiation research using the BESSY II electron storage ring in Berlin). HZB began its history – or rather, its future – on January 1, 2009. Two institutions rich in tradition were amalgamated at that time, with two scientific locations remaining: Wannsee and Adlershof. The HZB has three areas of primary research today: Energy Materials, Renewable Energies, and research at large-scale facilities, all sharing a common scientific approach of researching thin-film technologies. The research is closely associated with the operation and advanced development of the BESSY II photon source.

The history:

The older of the two institutes, the Hahn-Meitner Institute (HMI), was founded in Wannsee in 1959. It was named after physicist Lise Meitner and chemist Otto Hahn, who both attended its dedication on March 14th. Willi Brandt, then mayor of Berlin, also attended and dedicated the centrepiece of the research centre at the time, the Berlin Experimental Reactor (BER I).

The Berliner Elektronen-Speicherring Gesellschaft für Synchrotronstrahlung (BESSY) was founded twenty years later in 1979. The Max Planck Society was the largest shareholder, with the Hahn-Meitner Institute also a shareholder in BESSY from the beginning. The BESSY organisation operated the BESSY I electron storage ring facility in the Wilmersdorf section of Berlin from 1982 to 1999. At the time of its commissioning, this facility was the first dedicated synchrotron radiation source in Germany. The new high-brilliance BESSY II synchrotron radiation source began operating in September 1998 following four years' construction.