Federation of German Scientists

The Federation of German Scientists - VDW (Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler e. V.) is a German non-governmental organization.


Since its founding 1959 by Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Otto Hahn, Max Born and further prominent nuclear scientists, known as Göttinger 18, who had previously publicly declared their position against the nuclear armament of the German Bundeswehr, the Federation has been committed to the ideal of responsible Wissenschaft.[1] The founders were almost identical to the "Göttinger 18" (compare the historical Göttingen Seven). Both the "Göttingen Manifesto" and the formation of the VDW were an expression of the new sense of responsibility felt by Otto Hahn and some scientists after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The VDW tried to mirror the American Federation of Atomic Scientists.[2] VDW has been identified as Western Germany's Pugwash group.[3]

Members of VDW feel committed to taking into consideration the possible military, political and economical implications and possibilities of atomic misuse when carrying out their scientific research and teaching.[4] The Federation of German Scientists comprises around 400 scholars of different fields. The Federation of German Scientists addresses both interested members of the public and decision-makers on all levels of politics and society with its work. The politician Egon Bahr was a longstanding member. Georg Picht presented a radio series about the Limits of growth on behalf of the VDW in the 1970s.[5] In 2005/2006, the VDW was the patron and main contributor to the Potsdam Manifesto‚ 'We have to learn to think in a new way’ and the Potsdam Denkschrift under co-authorship of Hans Peter Duerr and Daniel Dahm, together with Rudolf zur Lippe. Since 2022 Ulrike Beisiegel and Götz Neuneck are co-chairs of the VDW.

VDW was closely connected with the German Friedensbewegung (peace movement) in the 1980s. After 1999 VDW tried to regain public interest with the establishment of the Whistleblower Prize, awarded together with the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).

Whistleblower PrizeEdit

The Whistleblower Prize worth 3,000 euro, is given biannually and was established in 1999.[6] In 2015, the selection of Gilles-Éric Séralini generated some controversy. Ulrich Bahnsen in Die Zeit described VDW and IALANA as consisting of busybodies with best wills - and worst possible outcome in the case of this award.[7] The opinion piece, featured in Zeit Online, described the awarding of Séralini as a failure, and viewed his status as a "whistleblower" as questionable, in light of his use of "junk science" to support anti-GMO activism.[8]



  1. ^ "FGS Brochure" (PDF). Convention on Biological Diversity. Federation of German Scientists. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  2. ^ Seefried, Elke (2015-07-01). Zukünfte: Aufstieg und Krise der Zukunftsforschung 1945-1980 (in German). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. ISBN 9783110349122.
  3. ^ Klaus Gottstein: Erinnerungen an Pugwash und an die Rolle der VDW als deutsche Pugwash-Gruppe. In: Götz Neuneck und Michael Schaaf (Hrsg.): Zur Geschichte der Pugwash-Bewegung in Deutschland. Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2007, p. 39–62.
  4. ^ Stephan Albrecht, Hans-Joachim Bieber, Reiner Braun, Peter Croll, Henner Ehringhaus, Maria Finckh, Hartmut Graßl, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Hrsg.): Wissenschaft – Verantwortung – Frieden: 50 Jahre VDW, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-8305-1704-7.
  5. ^ Picht, Georg (1992-01-01). Zukunft und Utopie (in German). Klett-Cotta. ISBN 9783608916218.
  6. ^ Snowden Gets Whistleblower Award in Germany | News. The Moscow Times.
  7. ^ Bahnsen, Von Ulrich (8 October 2015). "Gentechnik: Ausgezeichnete Pfeife". ZEIT ONLINE. Retrieved 2015-12-16. Nun sind VDW und Ialana von sicherlich guten Menschen mit besten Absichten bevölkert, was stets befürchten lässt, dass die Sache den schlechtesten Ausgang nimmt.
  8. ^ Ulrich Bahnsen (8 October 2015). "Ausgezeichnete Pfeife". Zeit Online (in German). Séralini ist in der Wissenschaft zu Recht und zur Gänze diskreditiert
  9. ^ "Vor fünfzig Jahren wurde in Berlin die Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler gegründet. Ihre Friedensmission ist heute so aktuell wie damals: Im Interesse der Menschheit". www.berliner-zeitung.de. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  10. ^ "Was Margrit Herbst mit Edward Snowden gemein hat". www.abendblatt.de (in German). Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  11. ^ Deiseroth, Dieter; Falter, Annegret (2011-07-22). Whistleblower in Altenpflege und Infektionsforschung: Preisverleihung 2007 (in German). BWV Verlag. ISBN 9783830521471.
  12. ^ "Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler VDW e.V." www.vdw-ev.de. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  13. ^ "Transparency International Germany: Whistleblower Prize 2013 for Edward Snowden". Transparency International. 2013.
  14. ^ "Former US Drone Operator to Get German Whistleblower Award". 2015.

External linksEdit