About the IUPContactDirectorate

About us

Since 1975, the term "environmental physics" has stood for a field of research that emerged in the 1950s from the development and application of nuclear-physical measurement methods for investigating the Earth's climate system. Our scientific mission as a branch of physics encompasses questions that investigate the flow of energy and matter in our environment. Our current research directions are the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and remote sensing (Prof. André Butz), terrestrial complex systems and their modelling (Prof. Kurt Roth) as well as aquatic processes and the climate past of the earth (Prof. Norbert Frank and Prof. Werner Aeschbach). In addition, image processing in environmental sciences is associated with the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing at the University of Heidelberg (Prof. Bernd Jähne and Prof. Carsten Rother), remote sensing of the atmosphere at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz (Prof. Thomas Wagner) and aerosol research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Prof. Thomas Leisner) of Environmental Physics. Furthermore there is a connection to the Klaus-Tschira-Labor für Physikalische Altersbestimmung (KTL), a facility of the Curt-Engelhorn-Zentrum für Archäometrie (CEZA) and the Curt-Engelhorn-Stiftung.

The research activities thus cover a wide range of topics, both in terms of environmental areas and methods. The physics of transport and mixing processes in the atmosphere, in soils, in the ocean, in ground and inland waters and in glacial ice are researched. Further focal points are the budgets of greenhouse gases, the distribution of reactive trace gases and radiation transport. The movement of water, dissolved substances and heat forms an important building block with regard to the effects of global environmental and climate changes today and in the past. Mass spectrometry and absorption spectrometry, remote sensing of satellites, ground radar and digital image and time series analysis are used as measurement methods. Observations and modelling of dynamic processes in environmental systems lead to numerical simulation of environmental processes. Typical for our research are measurement campaigns in the field under conditions given by nature. In addition to small-scale or regional experiments, large investigation scales from the north to the south polar region can also be understood. Our research is embedded in numerous national and international projects, financed by third-party funds from the DFG, the BMBF, the EU and foundations. A substantial part of the research is carried out by students and young physicists as part of their project work.


Institut für Umweltphysik
Im Neuenheimer Feld 229
D-69120 Heidelberg
Tel. + 49 6221 54-63 50 Secretariat
Tel. + 49 6221 54-63 37 Administration
Fax + 49 6221 54-64 05
email: sekretariat@iup.uni-heidelberg.de



  • Prof. Dr. Werner Aeschbach
  • Prof. Dr. André Butz
  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Frank (acting director)

Administration and Secretariat 


  • Dr. Reinhold Bayer
  • Karoline Thomas (Administration)
  • Rebekka Benetatos
  • Silke Müller