Is the Institute for Oscilliation Research on the brink of closing down?

March 27, 2018


At the beginning of the 1950s, turbulent times began for the Institute for Oscillation Research, culminating in a short-term closure of the Institute in 1953.

Since 1949, the facility has been subdivided into its original four departments of High-frequency Technology, Acoustics, Telecommunications, and Mechanics. Prof. Dr. Leithäuser retired in April 1953, which, however, had no effect on his teaching activity or his leadership of the institute. In summer of that year, he was even awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his scientific success in research and teaching. In August, however, the Institute for Oscillation research made negative headlines: A technical employee was arrested and charged with counterfeiting. In the course of the investigation, Prof. Dr. Leithäuser was suspended from office by the dean of the Technical University. In addition, disciplinary proceedings have been initiated, the details of which are no longer available today. Prof. Dr. Leithäuser never returned to the institute. As a consequence of the counterfeiting affair, the Institute for Oscillation Research was closed for a short time.

It reopened on September, 1953. The Professor of General Electrical Engineering at TU Berlin-Charlottenburg, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Otto Mohr, headed the Institute temporarily at that time. He was entrusted with shaping the future of the facility. One of the options being debated at first was to close down the institute completely. If it had to be closed, the plan was for the personnel to be integrated into existing TU structures. This was the option favored by the then head of Mechanics, Prof. Matthieu. In the head engineers’ memoirs, the authors were against closing the institution, however. As no agreement could be reached about who to put in the management role, the option of a “cooperative management” was agreed upon. The management was intended to rotate among the institute’s heads of departments. At the same time, the institute’s founder, Karl Willy Wagner, died, and the possibility of renaming the institute the “K. W.  Wagner Institute for Oscillation Research” was considered.

During a meeting of “an informative nature” on December 16, 1953, a possible restructuring of the institute was outlined. Prof. Dr. Tiburtius, Berlin's senator for education, expressed Berlin's political interest in retaining the facility. One of the possible names under discussion was “Heinrich-Hertz-Institute.” There were, however, no specific plans for the restructuring of the Institute at that time.