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Prof. Dr.

Klaus von Klitzing

Year of election: 1996
Section: Physics
City: Stuttgart
Country: Germany
CV Klaus von Klitzing - English (PDF)
CV Klaus von Klitzing - German (PDF)


Research Priorities: solid state research, experimental solid state physics, low-dimensional electron systems, quantum Hall effect

Klaus von Klitzing is a German physicist and specialist in experimental solid-state physics. On 5 February 1980, while working at the Grenoble High Magnetic Field Laboratory, he succeeded in discovering and precisely measuring the stepwise change of the Hall voltage under certain conditions. For the discovery of the quantised Hall effect, Klaus von Klitzing received the undivided Nobel Prize in Physics in 1985. With his work, Klaus von Klitzing initiated a new field of research that continues to be highly relevant today.

The quantum Hall effect describes the deflection of electrons in a strong magnetic field at very low temperatures. Under these conditions, a voltage that occurs transversely to an electron current does not grow continuously with the strength of the magnetic field, but in steps. Thus, the resistance also changes in steps. The so-called Hall resistance RH, i.e. the ratio of the Hall voltage to the strength of the current, thereby assumes as plateau values only integer fractions of the von Klitzing constant RK=h/e2 (≈25.8kΩ), where h is the Planck constant and e is the elementary charge. Both are physical constants; the plateau values, therefore, neither depend on the material properties such as the charge carrier density, nor on the sample size, nor on the strength of the magnetic field.

The von Klitzing constant RK is a universal reference for measuring resistance and can be precisely reproduced anywhere in the world. In 1990, it was established by international agreement as the standard for representing the unit measurement ohm. Since the 2019 revision, the International System of Units (SI) has been defined by assigning fixed values to a number of constants, including e and h. As a result, the von Klitzing constant in SI units now has an exact value.

Klaus von Klitzing is a scientist who considers it his obligation to promote interest and enthusiasm for scientific disciplines. He is the eponym and jury member of the Klaus-von-Klitzing-Prize, established in 2005. This award is given to dedicated natural science teachers who help inspire students to work and think scientifically through their outstanding commitment and creativity.


  • since 1985 Director, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research (MPI-FKF), Stuttgart and Honorary Professor, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1980-1984 Professor for solid state research, Technical University Munich (TUM), Munich, Germany
  • 1978 Habilitation in Physics, University of Würzburg (JMU), Würzburg, Germany
  • 1972 Ph.D. in Physics, JMU, Würzburg, Germany
  • 1969-1980 Assistant, JMU, Würzburg, Germany
  • 1962-1969 Diploma in Physics, Technical University Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany


  • 2011 Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Graphene Flagship, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2008 Member, Scientific Committee, Bayer Climate Award, Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany
  • 2007 Member, Research Council, European Association of National Metrology Institutes (EURAMET), Germany
  • 2006 Member, Board of Trustees, Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), TUM, Munich, Germany
  • 2005 Member, Jury, START-Wittgenstein Program, Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
  • 2005 Member, Scientific Committee, International Solvay Institutes, Belgium
  • 2000 Member, Advisory Board, NTT Basic Research Laboratory (BRL), Atsugi, Japan
  • 1992 Member, Bord of Trustees, Deutsches Museum München, Munich, Germany
  • 1989 Member, Bord of Trustees, National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB), Germany

Honours and Memberships

  • 2019 Member, Order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and the Arts, Germany
  • 2012 Distinguished Affiliated Professor, TUM, Munich, Germany
  • 2011 Honorary Degree, National University of Mongolia (NUM), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • 2011 Honorary Degree, Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS), Rehovot, Isral
  • 2010 Honorary Member, German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV), Germany
  • 2009 Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, Austria
  • 2008 Honorary Degree, Institute of Semiconductors (IOS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China
  • 2007 Member, Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Vatican City
  • 2007 Member, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Austria
  • 2006 Honorary Degree, Grenoble INP Graduate Schools of Engineering and Management, Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA), Grenoble, France
  • 2006 Honorary Degree, Shanghai University (SHU), Shanghai, China
  • 2006 Foreign Member, CAS, China
  • 2003 Foreign Member, Royal Society, UK
  • 2002 Honorary Degree, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey
  • 2000 Honorary Member, German Physical Society (DPG), Germany
  • 2000 Honorary Degree, Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS), Slovakia
  • 1998 Honorary Degree, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • 1996 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany
  • 1994 Foreign Member, Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Russia
  • 1990 Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), USA
  • 1990 Honorary Degree, University of Antwerp, Netherlands
  • 1988 Honorary Degree, University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, USA
  • 1988 Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art, Bavarian Minister-President, Germany
  • 1986 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Grand Cross with Star and Sash, Federal Republic of Germay
  • 1985 Member, Bavarian Academy of Sciences (BAdW), Germany
  • 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA), Sweden
  • 1982 Hewlett Packard Europhysics Prize, European Physical Society (EPS)
  • 1981 Walter Schottky Prize, DPG, Germany




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Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail archiv (at)leopoldina.org

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