Brief History

The Wolfgang Pauli Centre for Theoretical Physics was inaugurated in 2013 as a competence field of PIER, the Partnership for Innovation, Education and Research of Universität Hamburg and DESY. The initial mission was to explore the potential for intersectional interaction between the six different research areas that are pursued by theorists on the campus and their closest partners.

Key measures of the first phase were a monthly "black board seminar" with lectures by local theorists along with the annual Wolfgang-Pauli lecture which was given by outstanding young theorists. A number of smaller thematic workshops followed. From 2016 onward, these were supported by the DESY Strategy fund. Many of these were highly intersectional such as the workshop on "Tensor Networks: From Simulation to Holography", which was organized jointly by members of the John von Neumann-Institute for Computing (NIC), the Zentrum für Optische Quantentechnologien (ZOQ) and the DESY String theory group. A complete list of these events can be found here.

In 2017, the WPC established a collaboration with the Joachim Herz Stiftung (JHS) concerning the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics. From 2018, the selection process for this award, which involves a distinguished international jury, is coordinated by the WPC. The award ceremony in November is embedded into a 3-day scientific WPC symposium. The JHS sponsors the award and the symposium with almost 150,000 Euros per year. The awardee is expected to visit Hamburg for at least one longer stay and to support the mission of the WPC through courses and seminars.