Science in the lecture hall

Konrad Lorenz

1903 Vienna – 1989 Vienna (Austria)
Behavioural researcher, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1973
Country: Austria
Konrad Lorenz Zoom Image
Konrad Lorenz

In 1936, Konrad Lorenz holds a lecture at Harnack House. During the subsequent beer evening, he meets the young zoologist Erich von Holst. The animated conversation is the beginning of fruitful collaboration that will last for decades. The idea of founding their own German institute exclusively for behaviour research is conceived at this early stage. The plan is put into practice almost 20 years later at the Max Planck Society. Holst also dissuades Lorenz from his previous explanation that behaviour is a consequence of reflexes.

After the Second World War, they jointly found the discipline of "animal psychology" in Germany. Lorenz runs a branch of Holst’s institute from 1951 in Buldern Palace where he carries out his world-famous geese experiments. Lorenz receives the Nobel Prize in 1973. Despite being an iconic figure in the modern ecology movement in Austria at the end of his life, he is seen as a controversial scientist due to his sympathies towards the Nazis and race ideology.

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