#42 Overall Influence

University of Jena

University located in Jena, Thuringia, Germany
By James Barham, PhD

A university was founded in Jena—in what is now the state of Thuringia in the heart of the German-speaking lands—around the middle of the sixteenth century. While it is not one of the oldest universities in Central Europe (for a thumbnail history, search “University of Leipzig” on our site), it is still among the dozen or so oldest universities located on the soil of what is now the Federal Republic of Germany (exact counts vary). Thus, Jena is quite a venerable institution by most standards.

The Reformation-era dukes of the several duchies of Saxony pooled their resources to establish the university, which accounts for its original name: Ducal Pan-Saxon University (Herzoglich Sächsische Gesamtuniversität). Aligned from the outset with a dissident Lutheran sect, Jena was for many years an important center of radical intellectual and political activity.

For example, Karl Marx was a doctoral candidate at the University of Berlin, whose conservative professors refused to accept his dissertation. He then submitted it to the University of Jena, where it was accepted. Thus, Marx counts as a Jena graduate, though he never actually studied there.

Among Jena’s early leading lights, we may note the jurist and proponent of natural law theory, Samuel von Pufendorf; the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock; and the eminent philosophers, Christian Wolff and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the great German writer and sage, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, settled in the town of Weimar, near Jena, after being ennobled by Karl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar. While Goethe was neither a student nor a professor at the University of Jena, as a member of Karl August’s privy council he was heavily involved with administrative and curricular reforms there.

Goethe’s close association with the school is an important reason why Jena became perhaps the most important center of German philosophical activity in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, playing host to such outstanding thinkers as:

  • Karl Leonard Reinhold
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Other important Jena figures from this same time period include:

  • Zoologist and anthropologist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
  • Noted poet, philologist, and critic, as well as philosopher, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel
  • Germany’s most celebrated and beloved dramatist, Friedrich Schiller
  • Romantic poet-novelists, Friedrich Hölderlin & Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg)

Collectively, the foregoing writers and thinkers made Jena one of the primary sources of philosophical Idealism and literary Romanticism during the early nineteenth century, first in Germany itself, and subsequently in England, France, and throughout the world.

During the nineteenth century, significant Jena-connected individuals include:

  • Philosopher and psychologist, Johann Friedrich Herbart
  • Naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt
  • Marine biologist and prominent early disciple of Darwin, Ernst Haeckel

In 1921, with the demise of the old German duchies and principalities, the university adopted a new name: the Thuringian State University. However, the school was so proud of its erstwhile association with the German national playwright, that in 1934 it changed its name once again to its present form: the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

Six Nobel Prize–winners are connected with Jena, including the physicist Herbert Kroemer (important for his work on semiconductors) and the playwright and novelist, Gerhart Hauptmann.

Other distinguished Jena people include:

  • Great logician and co-founder of analytical philosophy, Gottlob Frege
  • Realist phenomenologist, Max Scheler
  • Logical positivist and Vienna Circle member, Rudolf Carnap
  • Embryologist and proponent of vitalism, Hans Driesch
  • Satirical journalist, poet, and novelist, Kurt Tucholsky
  • Novelist, essayist, and memoirist, Christa Wolf

From Wikipedia

The University of Jena, officially the Friedrich Schiller University Jena is a public research university located in Jena, Thuringia, Germany.The university was established in 1558 and is counted among the ten oldest universities in Germany. It is affiliated with six Nobel Prize winners, most recently in 2000 when Jena graduate Herbert Kroemer won the Nobel Prize for physics. It was renamed after the poet Friedrich Schiller who was teaching as professor of philosophy when Jena attracted some of the most influential minds at the turn of the 19th century. With Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, G. W. F. Hegel, F. W. J. Schelling and Friedrich von Schlegel on its teaching staff, the university was at the centre of the emergence of German idealism and early Romanticism.

Source: Wikipedia

What is University of Jena known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#12 World Rank
Philosophy
#51 World Rank
Biology
#67 World Rank
Mathematics
#57 World Rank
Literature
#31 World Rank
Economics
#33 World Rank
History
#95 World Rank
Physics
#108 World Rank
Chemistry
#97 World Rank
Law
#61 World Rank
Religious Studies
#117 World Rank
Education
#27 World Rank
Sociology
#198 World Rank
Medical
#113 World Rank
Communications
#341 World Rank
Engineering
#148 World Rank
Psychology
#75 World Rank
Anthropology
#70 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#672 World Rank
Business
#503 World Rank
Political Science
#1303 World Rank
Computer Science
#3417 World Rank
Nursing
#2347 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#1826 World Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are University of Jena's Most influential alumni?

University of Jena 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Philosophy, Sociology, and Economics

Johann Peter Süssmilch

German priest and statistician

Otto Binswanger

Otto Binswanger

Swiss psychiatrist

Richard Semon

Richard Semon

German zoologist

Paul Rostock

German surgeon; defendant at the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial

Johann Philipp Gabler

Johann Philipp Gabler

German theologian

Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay

Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay

Russian explorer and scientist

Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt

Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt

German neuropathologist

Ludolf von Krehl

Ludolf von Krehl

German physician

William Threlfall

William Threlfall

German mathematician

Johann Matthias Gesner

Johann Matthias Gesner

German classical scholar

Francis Daniel Pastorius

Francis Daniel Pastorius

German-born American educator, lawyer, poet, and public official

Paul Langerhans

Paul Langerhans

German pathologist, physiologist and biologist