Big names have determined the history of the Ruprecht Karls University founded in 1386. Amond them, you have the philosopher Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel, the chemist Robert Bunsen, the physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, the economist and sociologist Max Weber and the philosopher Karl Jaspers.
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Currently, there are about 28,000 students enrolled here. They study and research within 12 faculties and 14 special research areas; the main competences are in the area of life sciences. Heidelberg University ranks very highly in recognised ratings for medicine, life sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics. It is also very well-known for law and many other ‘small’ fields like classical studies, European cultural studies as also Eastern and South Asian studies. In the historical building of the Old University, you have the Aula Magna. For a long time, this hall was used for classes but is now the main visitors’ area for the University. The current form of this grand hall has been designed by Josef Durm, when it was renovated for the 500-year anniversary of Ruperto Carola in 1886. Since then, busts of the founders, reformers and promoters of the University as also its most important scholars from the beginning to the 19th century have been included here. Behind the Old University, you have the Student’s Jail in Augustinergasse. Students were imprisoned here from 1778 to 1914 for “cavalier crimes” like violent duels, disturbing the night peace or other such breaches of public decorum – they were often quite a few drinks down in these cases. In this period, the University still had its own jurisprudence and a judge could also sentence hanging for more serious crimes. According to the crime, the arrest lasted between three days and four weeks, during which students were allowed to attend classes. After their lessons, they were to return to the jail. A lot of the inmates spent their time etching their words of wisdom into the walls of the Student’s Jail. Some of these “works of art” can be seen even today.