The City of Giessen

In 2023, the Spring Symposium takes place in Giessen, the former working place of Justus von Liebig and thus one of the birthplaces of modern chemistry. The city of Giessen is located in the heart of Hesse in the in the valley of the river Lahn, 50 km north of Frankfurt am Main. In 2014, the city hosted the 5. “Hessische Landesgartenshow”, during which the area near the river and the municipal park near the “Schwanenteich” were redeveloped to give the city a green touch. The "Botanischer Garten" Giessen, established in 1609 and the oldest botanical garden in Germany, was also recently renovated.

Giessen was heavily bombed in 1944, but some truly beautiful old buildings have been preserved, including the medieval "Altes Schloss", the classical theatre with a wonderful Art Nouveau Foyer built in 1907, the "Zeughaus", and the university’s main building.

Outside of Gießen, Kloster Schiffenberg is worth a visit. The former monastery is surrounded by a beautiful scenery and regularly hosts concerts and other events. Furthermore, Castle Gleiberg gives a stunning view of the town.

Giessen is internationally known for Wilhelm C. Roentgen, the first to receive the Nobel prize in Physics in 1901, and Justus von Liebig, whose contributions have shaped how we do chemistry today. Therefore, the Liebig Museum was established in his exceptionally well-preserved laboratories in 1920, which you can still visit today to see how he carried out research back in his days. The Liebig Museum is considered one of the most important sites in the history of chemistry.

 

The University and its Namesake Justus von Liebig

Giessen is the city with the most students per inhabitant in Germany. Correspondingly, the role of the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen is crucial. About 28,000 students are enrolled, and the university is also the largest employer in the region. Founded in 1607, it is the second oldest university in Hesse after Phillips University in Marburg and the second largest after Goethe University in Frankfurt.

In honour of its most famous professor, the University has been named Justus-Liebig University in 1946. Justus von Liebig was appointed professor at the age of only 21 in 1824 and stayed in Giessen until 1852. Initially, he focused on the analysis of organic compounds, and thus not only invented the kaliapparat, which can still be found in the logo of the ACS today but is also considered one of the founders of organic chemistry by enabling precise analyses. Nevertheless, his most significant discovery is probably the necessity of mineral fertilisation, which made him an internationally recognised figure. As he was standing under the impression of the terrible famines of that time, this shows very well his motivation to do chemistry first and foremost for the people and society. In his laboratories, he was the first to carry out large-scale empirical research and to combine research and teaching in a practical way. Thus, he did not only lay decisive foundations for the development towards modern chemistry, but also for the study of chemistry as we know it today. Among the first 60 Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, 42 came from his school.

Today, the Justus-Liebig University is still following the lead established by Liebig guaranteeing excellent fundamental research with a clear orientation towards societal needs. The support of young scientists through research-oriented teaching and the establishment of regional, national, and international networks is not only in line with Liebig's principles, but also corresponds to the JCF's values and basic motives.

 

Chemistry at Justus-von-Liebig University

The chemistry department is located on the Seltersberg Campus in the south of Giessen. In 2012, the department moved into the new chemistry building. The state-of-the-art building ensures a modern and excellently equipped infrastructure for research and teaching. It houses 6 institutes: the Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, the Institute for Organic Chemistry, the Institute for Physical Chemistry, the Institute for Food Chemistry and Food Biotechnology, the Institute for Biochemistry, and the Institute for Didactics of Chemistry.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to a fruitful conference exactly at this place!