The University’s first institute of physics was established shortly after the founding of the University itself, in 1948. It was housed in the building that was formerly home to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics, where Heisenberg and Debye had previously worked. Today’s Department of Physics was founded at the beginning of the 1970s, when the University was reorganized and underwent extensive expansion.
At present, 17 professors work within the department, together with their groups. Of the faculty, 11 professors work in experimental physics, 5 in theoretical physics, and one in physics education. Three other professors primarily work at the Helmholtz Centre Berlin and/or Max Born Institute. The department also maintains close ties with other research institutions in Berlin. It is furthermore active at the BESSY II synchrotron in the Adlershof district of Berlin, where it has its own beamlines.