1980 - 1990

A systematic approach

A new buzzword heralded a fresh approach: “systems analysis” involved bringing together results from projects and working groups so that findings could be classified, understood, and evaluated in complex contexts. A pioneer in this field was the Systems Analysis and Technological Evaluation programme group. Environmental and climate research in particular required energy, climate, technology, and society to be considered in terms of their interrelationships and interactions.
Results from nuclear research became the starting point for new technologies. Thus, Jülich's radiochemistry department specialized in pharmaceutical applications and developed tracers that made metabolic processes in the brain visible. The Institute of Reactor Materials, which came into existence in the 1960s, worked on ultra-high-temperature ceramic materials of substantial interest to industry.
With large-scale facilities such as TEXTOR and supercomputers, Jülich underlined its status as a major research centre: large scientific and technical infrastructures were developed and built for a variety of research areas, and methods for their operation were created and made available to the community.

New horizons

The anti-nuclear and environmental movements gave rise to many questions in the 1980s. While nuclear energy attracted increasing criticism, in particular following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, getting to grips with environmental problems became more and more important. Research responded to the new questions coming from society and taken up by politicians, and investigated a large number of new fields. These included information technology, materials research, and biotechnology. At the same time, the major research institutions also regarded themselves as partners in terms of scientific policy and started to play a more active role in determining the strategic direction of research.
An agreement on scientific and technical cooperation between West and East Germany in 1987 encouraged relations between their respective research institutions. So when the inner-German border was opened in 1989, these contacts soon grew into straightforward cooperations; Project Management Jülich (PtJ) became active in the former East Germany as soon as the Wall came down, placing and coordinating a number of environmental projects in particular. It therefore became indirectly involved in reshaping science in what had been East Germany.

Picture gallery

  • Mitarbeiter schaut in ein Mikroskop an einem aus Edelstahl gebauten Instrument

  • Küvette für Transportmessungen in Pflanzen, 1988

  • Prüfarbeiten an TEXTOR, ca. 1980

  • Adalbert Plattenteich, 1980

  • Verfahren

  • Zwei Demonstranten von den Grünen halten ein Plakat "Stoppt Atomtransporte"

  • Operateur arbeitet am Teilmodell von TEXTOR

  • Herr Bousack montiert ein Bauteil an TEXTOR zur Neutralteilcheninjektion, Zentralabteilung für Technologie 1987

  • 2 Mitarbeiter vor Monitoren im Bedienungsraum des Supercomputers Cray

Picture gallery: 1980 - 1990


1981TEXTOR, the large-scale fusion experiment based in Jülich, comes on stream
1982Molecular beam epitaxy plant for investigating semiconductor and magnetic film structures
1984Inauguration of supercomputer CRAY X-MP, one of the world’s fastest computers
1985The MERLIN (FRJ-1) research reactor is decommissioned
1987The High Performance Computing Centre (Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum, HLRZ) is founded
1988Official opening of the pilot-scale bioengineering facility for obtaining enzymes from micro-organisms
1988The AVR reactor is shut down
1988Peter Grünberg discovers the GMR effect, for which he is awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007
1989New European record: a high-temperature superconductor developed in Jülich conducts electric current at 130 kelvin
1990Change of name to Forschungszentrum Jülich