At the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen, a team headed by electrical engineer and mathematician Karlheinz Brandenburg develops the MP3 procedure for compressing audio data, which is nowadays standard throughout the world.
The Excellence Initiative is announced for higher education institutions. The Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation provides funding for non-university research organisations.
Nine years after the discovery of the giant magnetoresistance effect, which led to the breakthrough of gigabyte hard drives, the German Peter Grünberg and the Frenchman Albert Fert are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The European Patent Office honours Heidelberg physicist Josef Bille, the inventor of the eye laser, for his lifetime achievement. With almost 100 patents, Bille paved the way for present-day eye surgery using lasers.
Stefan Hell, a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, together with two US researchers receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing high resolution fluorescence microscopy.
At almost 90 percent, the changeover to two-cycle Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses is for the most part complete. State-regulated degree courses, Medicine and Law are an exception.