Krupp-Foundation Fellowship for Visiting Student Researchers at Stanford Welcomes Magnus Altschäfl

Magnus Altschäfl

Magnus Altschäfl is a PhD candidate at the Department of History (Chair for Contemporary History) at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He studied history and political sciences at LMU Munich and UC Berkeley and he is currently a visiting student researcher at Stanford’s History Department via the „Krupp-Foundation Fellowship for Visiting Student Researchers at Stanford“. His main research interests are (Social) History of Medicine and (Urban) History of Science.


My project analyzes the biotech research location Martinsried. Situated just south of Munich, Martinsried developed from a rural village in the late 1960s into one of the world’s leading biotech centers today. Martinsried, I argue, is the prime example of the rapid rise of biotechnology in Germany, where that development started late but evolved even faster. The evolution of this research location was advanced by scientific, political, and economic relations of both cooperation and competition. Two institutions are in the center of my project: The Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry (MPIB) and LMU Munich’s “Genecenter”. The MPIB was opened in 1973 as the MPG’s new interdisciplinary life-science institut and combined Adolf Butenandt's old MPI for Biochemistry, Feodor Lynen's MPI for Cellular Chemistry and the MPI for Protein- and Leather-Research. The Genecenter was founded in 1984 as a federally funded joint institution of LMU and MPG. Combining Georg Simmel’s theory of competition with Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of capital, I am trying to show how global competition in biochemistry and molecular biology “trickled down” to the federal, the state and the regional and local levels and affected both Martinsried’s development and its researchers.