For a medicine of humanity
Scientific symposium marks the 85th birthday of Prof Hans Joachim Winckelmann

Ulm University

Without Professor Hans Joachim Winckelmann, the history, philosophy and ethics of medicine would be missing out on numerous groundbreaking publications and debates. Since 1972, Prof Winckelmann has been shaping medical history, science history and medical ethics in Ulm, in the laboratory as well as in the lecture hall. To mark Winckelmann’s 85th birthday, Ulm University is holding a scientific symposium in his honour. The dedication ceremony will be held in the Gewölbesaal room at the Municipal History Building on 8 May at 2:00 pm.

Hans Joachim Winckelmann is a highly-esteemed colleague. His special research interest is in modern and early modern history of medicine, especially in the free imperial cities”, explains Professor Florian Steger, director of the Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine at Ulm University and symposium organiser. Winckelmann has also repeatedly examined ethical questions of medical practice both in present and former times, including critical scrutiny of the role of medicine in National Socialism. He has taught a countless number of students and supervised numerous dissertations. Many locals of Ulm know him as co-author of the book “Medizinhistorischer Streifzug durch Ulm” (“A Medical-Historical Stroll through Ulm”).

Dentists in the “Third Reich” – filling a research gap

The central theme of the symposium is a topic that, up to now, has not received adequate research attention: dentists in the “Third Reich”. The subtitle of Professor Dominik Groß’s lecture is “Research findings on a forgotten occupational group”. The director of the Institute of the History, Philosophy and Ethics of Medicine at Aachen University Hospital not only has connections to Ulm as a place, but also to Winckelmann personally. As assistant physician at Ulm University Hospital and, later, as section director for Paediatric Dentistry and Dentistry for the Disabled, Dominik Groß occupied himself with clinical ethics issues as well. Ulm is also the site where he defended his medical dissertation, which was supervised by Professor Winckelmann.

Research ethics as a consequence of the “Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials”

The development of research ethics in the aftermath of the Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials goes to show just how Germans have learned from the past. Professor Florian Steger will address this topic at the symposium. In his lecture entitled “From medicine without humanity to the development of ethics committees”, he will examine the special role that Ulm has played in the history of research ethics. Germany’s first ethics committee was, after all, founded in Ulm.

Personal details:
Prof Dr Dr Hans Joachim Winckelmann was born in Illertissen on 7 May 1934. He studied pharmaceuticals, biochemistry and history in Munich, Würzburg, Boston and Paris. He attained doctorates in science as well as in history from the University of Paris. Winckelmann completed his habilitation (German postdoctoral lecturing qualification) at Ulm University in 1980. He has also worked for some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Mack-Pfizer (CEO) and Searle-Monsanto. He has acquired quite an academic reputation for himself in the field of history, philosophy and ethics of medicine.

Text and media contact: Andrea Weber-Tuckermann

Prof Hans Joachim Winckelmann presenting his book "Medizin im 20. Jahrhundert" (“20th Century Medicine”), which he co-authored with Prof Dominik Groß in 2008.