The Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar- and Marine Research (AWI)

The Alfred Wegener-Institute for Polar and Ocean Research (AWI) is one of the largest scientific institutes in Germany. Founded in July 1980, it is named after the polar explorer Alfred Wegener (1880-1930). Its main missions comprise natural, scientific, polar, but also oceanographic research. More particularly, oceanography, geology, geophysics and biology are the main fields of research. In 2005, about 600 people were employed there. Besides permanent stations in the Arctic and Antarctic and further research installations on the islands of Helgoland and Sylt, as well as at Potsdam near Berlin, a fleet of six research vessels is maintained and operated. The largest and most notable of these is certainly the research and supply icebreaker POLARSTERN. The institute’s flagship was commissioned in 1982 and since then, she has carried out numerous scientific and logistic missions in polar waters.

The central building of the AWI, semi-circular in shape, is both functional and representative in its outer appearance. Facing the German Maritime Museum, it is situated on the opposite side of Alter Hafen basin. It was constructed from 1982 to 1986, the Cologne architect Oswald Mathias Ungers (born 1926) having drawn up the design.

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