University of Vienna
#20 Overall Influence

University of Vienna

Public university in Vienna, Austria

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By James Barham, PhD

The University of Vienna was founded by the Habsburg ruler, Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria. This monarch was known as “Rudolf der Stifter” [Rudolf the Founder] on account of his fondness for building new cathedrals and monasteries, as well as the university. He may also have been motivated by rivalry with his Central European peers, the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV (who had established Charles University in Prague just a few years earlier, in 1348) and Casimir III (known as “Casimir the Great”), King of Poland (who had founded Jagiellonian University in Kraków one year earlier, in 1364).

Vienna is the oldest university, under continuous operation, in the present-day German-speaking lands (the oldest one in Germany proper being Heidelberg University, dating to 1386). Rudolf closely modeled its structure and curriculum on those of the University of Paris. Over the centuries, the school has experienced many ups and downs: at one point—during the first Siege of Vienna by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1529—its student body was reduced to a mere 30 souls.

Now, almost 500 years later, the university has certainly recovered handsomely: its present student population numbers around 94,000. Around one quarter of these are international students hailing from some 138 different countries.

As for notable alumni, during the early sixteenth century the influential Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli and the famous alchemist Paracelsus (Theophrastus von Hohenheim) both studied there.

The nineteenth century saw a long list of illustrious persons pass through the university’s gates, of which we may mention the following:

  • Poet, playwright, and novella-writer, Franz Grillparzer
  • Novella-writer and novelist, Adalbert Stifter
  • Gregor Mendel, the Augustinian monk who laid the foundations for population genetics
  • Marxist political thinker, Karl Kautsky
  • Physicist Christian Doppler, co-discoverer (with Hippolyte Fizeau) of the Doppler effect
  • Physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, founder of statistical mechanics
  • Composers Anton Bruckner & Gustav Mahler
  • Economist Carl Menger, co-discoverer (with W.S. Jevons and Léon Walras) of the subjective theory of value and founder of the Austrian School of Economics
  • Economist Eugen Böhm-Bawerk, Austrian Finance Minister and second-generation exponent of Austrian economics
  • Philosopher, Franz Brentano
  • Eminent physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach
  • Founding fathers of psychoanalysis, Joseph Breuer and Sigmund Freud

During the twentieth century, some 20 University of Vienna–connected people have won the Nobel Prize, including:

  • Erwin Schrödinger—physics
  • Max Perutz & Hans Fischer—chemistry
  • Karl von Frisch and Konrad Lorenz—physiology or medicine
  • Friedrich Hayek—economics
  • Bulgarian-born essayist-memoirist, Elias Canetti—literature
  • Bosnian-born novelist, Ivo Andrić—literature

Other prominent, twentieth-century University of Vienna–connected persons include the following:

  • Composer, Anton Webern
  • Poet and dramatist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • Influential satirist and cultural critic, Karl Kraus
  • Poet, Ingeborg Bachmann
  • Distinguished novelists, Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, Hermann Broch, Heimito von Doderer, Gregor von Rezzori, & Elfriede Jelinek
  • Anti-Communist memoirist, novelist, and all-around intellectual gadfly, Arthur Koestler
  • Distinguished art historian, Ernst Gombrich
  • Film directors, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, & Michael Haneke
  • Second-generation psychoanalysts, Wilhelm Reich, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank, Erik Erikson, & Bruno Bettelheim
  • Existential psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl
  • Distinguished jurist and legal philosopher, Hans Kelsen
  • Philosopher, statesman, and first President of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Masaryk
  • Economists, Ludwig von Mises & Joseph Schumpeter
  • Kurt Gödel, one of the greatest mathematicians and logicians of the twentieth century
  • Philosophers, Edmund Husserl, Alexius Meinong, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, Karl Popper, & Paul Feyerabend
  • Physicists, Paul Ehrenfest & Lise Meitner

From Wikipedia

The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world. With its long and rich history, the University of Vienna has developed into one of the largest universities in Europe, and also one of the most renowned, especially in the Humanities. It is associated with 21 Nobel prize winners and has been the academic home to many scholars of historical as well as of academic importance.

Source: Wikipedia

Influential People

Who are University of Vienna's Most influential alumni?

University of Vienna's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . University of Vienna’s most academically influential people include Paul Federn, Gottfried Haberler, and Richard von Krafft-Ebing.

Paul Federn

Austrian-american MD & psychoanalyst

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Gottfried Haberler

Austrian-American economist

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Richard von Krafft-Ebing
Richard von Krafft-Ebing

Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and nobleman

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Leopold Vietoris
Leopold Vietoris

Austrian mathematician

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Georg Trakl
Georg Trakl

Austrian poet

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Herbert W. Franke
Herbert W. Franke

Austrian scientist and writer

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Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk

Austrian economist

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Alexander Gerschenkron

American economist

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Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra
Ferdinand Ritter von Hebra

Austrian physician and dermatologist

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Aurel Stein
Aurel Stein

Hungarian-British archaeologist

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Johann Josef Loschmidt
Johann Josef Loschmidt

Austrian chemist and physicist

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Karl Kraus
Karl Kraus

Austrian playwright and publicist

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