Logo of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
symbolic picture: "magazines"


In front of the Siemens Building of PTB's Berlin Institute with the “EPS H istoric Site” plaque: Prof. John Dudley (EPS), Prof. Johanna Stachel (DPG), Prof. Joachim Ullrich (PTB), Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle (MIT ), Prof. H ans Koch (PTB)

was presented with the Historic Site Award of the European Physical Society (EPS) on 8 October. The ceremonial event took place at PTB's Berlin Institute, where the precursor of PTB, the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR – Imperial Physical Technical Institute), was founded in 1887. The PTR was the first large national non-university research facility in Germany and the first metrology institute in the world.

Big names in physics and important scientific discoveries characterized the first decades of the PTR at the end of the 19th and at the start of the 20th centuries. The then Imperial Institute, whose founding fathers were Werner von Siemens and Hermann von Helmholtz, thus laid the experimental foundations of quantum physics with its precision measurements of the radiation of a black body. Many other fundamental physical laws and effects were discovered and “measured” at the PTR such as, for example, the Einsteinde- Haas effect or the Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect as a characteristic of superconductivity. Frequently used measuring instruments such as the Geiger-Müller counter were also developed at the PTR.

Even 126 years after its foundation, this metrological success story hasn't ended yet. Today, PTB ranks among the most renowned metrological institutes in the world and makes fundamental contributions whenever high-precision measurements are concerned.