Max-Planck-Medaille (Max Planck Medal)

The Max Planck medal is the most prestigious award of the DPG for outstanding performances in the area of theoretical physics. The Max Planck Medal was donated in 1929 by individuals, companies and firms following an appeal by Max Born, Albert Einstein, Max von Laue, Erwin Schrödinger and Arnold Sommerfeld for the 70th birthday of Max Planck. The award consists of a gold medal with the portrait of Max Planck and a certificate handwritten on parchment.

⇒ Prizewinners of the Max Planck Medal
⇒ Playlist: Max Planck Medal Laureate Lectures and Interviews on the DPG YouTube Channel (external)

Statutes of the Max Planck Medal

  1. The German Physical Society awards the "Max Planck Medal" every year. It is the DPG's highest award for outstanding achievements in the field of theoretical physics.
  2. The award consists of a certificate handwritten on parchment with award text and laudatory speech as well as a gold medal with a portrait of Max Planck.
  3. The medal committee consists of the previous prize winners and up to five external members appointed by the board of directors of the DPG. The voting rights of the prizewinners selected from 2020 onwards will end after 15 years. The term of office of the external members is three years, re-election is possible. The committee elects one person each from among its members for the chair and deputy chair. The terms of office are 5 years each. Re-election is possible once. The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure as required. These are subject to these statutes and the confirmation by the DPG board.
  4. In agreement with the chair of the medal committee, the DPG management announces the award in good time in the members' journal and the relevant DPG websites and sets a deadline for the submission of proposals. These are to be addressed to the chair of the medal committee. The proposals received will be extended by the proposals submitted by the members of the committee.
  5. The medals committee selects two persons from all the proposals received and places them on the list of proposals, one person first and the other second, determined by the following procedure: Each member of the Committee - but at least half of its members - nominates two persons. The most frequently named person is nominated first and the next most frequently named person second: in the event of a tie, both persons are nominated equally.
  6. This list of suggestions with reasons is handed over to the DPG board by the chair of the medal committee. The board of the DPG makes the selection from both proposals by voting. In case of a tie the president decides.
  7.  If the medal committee does not come up with a proposal list in time, the prize will not be awarded.
  8. As a rule, the prize is awarded to one candidate at a time.
  9. The DPG management supports the medal committee in its work. The committee can obtain expert opinions.
  10. Changes to these statutes can be made by the board of directors of the DPG with the consent of the medal committee, which must not be unreasonably withheld. Implementing regulations are to be decided by the board of directors after prior consultation between the board of directors and the chair of the medal committee.
  11. The persons to be awarded with the "Max-Planck-Medal" are to be handed a copy of these statutes by the chair of the committee.
  12. These statutes were adopted by the board of directors of the DPG at its meeting on 8 November 2019.


Implementing Provisions of the Max Planck Medal

The prize is preferably awarded at the annual conference of the DPG. As a rule, the award ceremony should be followed by a lecture by the medal winner.

The management of the DPG, in agreement with the chair of the medal committee, sets the dates for the announcement of the prize and for the submission of proposals. The following schedule (previous year) is to be provided for:
Announcement: March issue of the DPG's membership magazine
Deadline for submission of proposals: 30 June
Proposal list to the DPG board: 1 November

Proposals for the nomination of external members for the prize committee are to be sent to the chair of the medal committee and the acting DPG board member for the department "Scientific
Programmes and Prices". These nominate by mutual agreement from the proposals those persons who are then proposed for election to the DPG Board of Directors after approval by the DPG Board of Directors.

These implementing provisions were adopted by the executive board of the DPG at its meeting on 17 November 1990 and amended at its meeting on 15 June 2019.
They were amended by a resolution of the board of directors on 15 November 2003.
Amended by resolution of the Board of Management on 9 November 2012.
Amended by resolution of the Board of Management on 17 and 18 November 2017.
Amended by resolution of the Executive Board on 8 November 2019.

Awards Committee

The prize committee is composed of living medal winners and external temporary members.

Vorsitzende/r des Preiskomitees

Prof. Dr. Herbert Spohn
Technische Universität München
Fakultät für Mathematik
Boltzmannstr. 3
85748 Garching

Stellvertretende/r Vorsitzende/r

Prof. Dr. Peter Zoller
Universität Innsbruck

Mitglieder des Preiskomitees (Preisträger/in der Max-Planck-Medaille)

Prof. Dr. Detlev Buchholz

Prof. Dr. Andrzej Buras

Prof. Dr. Ignacio Cirac

Prof. Dr. Erwin Frey

Prof. Dr. Jürg Fröhlich

Prof. Dr. Robert Graham

Prof. Dr. Klaus Hepp

Prof. Dr. Joel L. Lebowitz

Prof. Dr. Elliott H. Lieb

Prof. Dr. Detlef Lohse

Prof. Dr. Martin Lüscher

Prof. Dr. Viatcheslav F. Mukhanov

Prof. Dr. Werner Nahm

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Parisi

Prof. Dr. Alexander M. Polyakov

Prof. Dr. David Ruelle

Prof. Dr. Herbert Spohn

Prof. Rashid A. Sunyaev

Prof. Dr. Dieter Vollhardt

Prof. Dr. Franz Wegner

Prof. Dr. Annette Zippelius

Prof. Dr. Martin Zirnbauer

Prof. Dr. Peter Zoller

Mitglieder des Preiskomitees Max-Planck-Medaille (extern vom DPG-Vorstandsrat hinzugewählt)

Prof. Dr. Ruth Durrer

Prof. Dr. David J. Gross

Prof. Dr. Jean-Francois Joanny

Prof. Dr. Cristina Marchetti

Prof. em. Dr. Dieter Meschede

Das Preiskomitee setzt sich aus lebenden Medaillenträgerinnen und -trägern und aus auf Zeit hinzugewählten externen Mitgliedern zusammen.

Videos: Max Planck Medal Laureate lectures and interviews in the DPG-YouTube channel (external)