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President Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Chancellor Albert Berger (left) place a wreath at the tomb. (Photo: A. Heddergott/ TUM)
President Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Chancellor Albert Berger (left) place a wreath at the tomb. (Photo: A. Heddergott/ TUM)
  • TUM’s anniversary year

Memorial service for Karl Max von BauernfeindWreath ceremony at the tomb of TUM's Founding Director

Karl Max von Bauernfeind was the first Director of what is today the Technical University of Munich (TUM). He had just turned 50 when he opened the new "Polytechnic School Munich" in 1868. Thus TUM's 150th anniversary year also marks the 200th anniversary of Bauernfeind's birth. Yesterday TUM held a memorial service during which President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann placed a wreath at Bauernfeind's tomb in Munich's Old North Cemetery.

Today's TUM was founded in 1868 by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, as the "Polytechnic School Munich". Its mission was to "bring to the commercial and industrial world the spark of the sciences" as Founding Director Karl Max von Bauernfeind announced in his inaugural address on December 19, 1868. He was a renowned theoretician in the field of geodesy and bridge construction, and thanks to his experience in railroad building he was also an experienced practitioner: "Karl Max von Bauernfeind stood for the optimistic spirit of the new technical world and for the convergence of theory and practice which has played such a decisive role at our university ever since its founding. Thus in the second half of the 19th century the 'new sciences' were applied in a large number of infrastructure measures, for example in road and rail construction, in hydroelectric power plants and factories. Today the cutting-edge research of our university still often finds direct application in practice, for example recently in the construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which included the participation of several of our professors," says President Herrmann. 

Bauernfeind supported talented scientists

Bauernfeind was Director of what is now TUM from 1869 until 1874 and then once again from 1880 until 1889. During the 15 years he held the office his scholarships and appointments also supported talented scientists such as Rudolf Diesel and Carl Linde. Today TUM honors personalities for particular dedication on behalf of the university with The Karl Max von Bauernfeind Medal. In addition, at the TUM main campus in Munich's Maxvorstadt quarter, a Karl Max von Bauernfeind lecture hall has been named in his honor. 

Wreath ceremony at the newly renovated tomb

Bauernfeind died in Feldafing at Lake Starnberg on August 3, 1894. On the occasion of its 150-year anniversary, TUM, with the support of the non-profit support society "Karl Max von Bauernfeind-Verein zur Förderung der Technischen Universität München e. V." restored the tomb, which had been damaged by bombing during the Second World War. A planning document from the 19th century Structural Drawing professor Josef Bühlmann in the TUM architectural museum provided the restoring artist with information on the how the tomb had looked before the war. The original state was restored to the greatest extent possible: The tomb was shifted due to joint creepage above the pedestal zone, the inscriptions were redone and the bronze bust of Bauernfeind was remounted. This made it possible to celebrate yesterday's commemorative services at the newly renovated tomb. A brass quartet, led by Odilo Zapf, provided musical accompaniment for the ceremony. The memorial event was concluded in the TUM main building with a lecture by Prof. Thomas Wunderlich, the fifth successor to Karl Max von Bauernfeind in the TUM Chair of Geodesy.

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