Current research at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz aims at an integral understanding of chemical processes in the Earth system, particularly in the atmosphere and biosphere. Investigations address a wide range of interactions between air, water, soil, life and climate in the course of Earth history up to today´s human-driven epoch, the Anthropocene.
The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry is one of the two oldest institutes of the Max Planck Society. It was founded in 1912 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin, and it was relocated to Mainz in 1949. Particularly well-known scientists in the Institute´s history are the Nobel laureates Richard Willstätter, Otto Hahn, and Paul Crutzen. In honor of the former director and president of the Max Planck Society, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry also carries the epithet Otto Hahn Institute.
Currently, the institute employs some 300 staff in five departments (Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Multiphase Chemistry, and Particle Chemistry) and additional research groups. Scientists conduct laboratory experiments, collect samples and record measurement data during field campaigns utilizing airplanes, ships, and vehicles. The practical work is complemented with mathematical models that simulate chemical, physical, and biological processes from molecular to global scales. One of the major goals is to find out how air pollution, including reactive trace gases and aerosols, affect the atmosphere, biosphere, climate, and public health.