Department of Mechanical Engineering

Rudolf Plank: The Founder of Scientific Cooling Technology

22.6. 1886 Born in Kiev
1903 Studied Mathematics and Physics in Kiev
1904 Study at the Polytechnic Institute in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in St. Petersburg
1905 Participation in the uprising against the Russian government
1905-1909 Studied mechanical engineering in Dresden
1909-1911 Assistant at the Department of Mechanics at the Technical University Danzig, a doctorate promotion in 1909 with a topic given by Professor Mollier
1911 Habilitation for the teaching areas of thermodynamics and the theory of elasticity
1911-1913 Engineer in the Department of Cooling Machines of the FA. Borsig in Berlin
1913-1914 Professor of Thermodynamics and the machine laboratory in Danzig
1914-1916 Experiments on the long-term freshness preservation of food at the Central Sales Company in Berlin
1916-1918 Engineer in the Department of Aircraft Engineering at the company Schütte-Lanz
1918-1925 Professor at the TH Danzig
1925-1954 Professor of  Thermodynamics/Cooling Technology at the Technical University of Karlsruhe
16.6.1973 Died in Ettlingen

Plank's Significance for TH Karlsruhe

Rudolf Plank had a worldwide reputation as head of the Institute of Cooling Technology at the TH Karlsruhe, which he founded in 1926. He founded the later Federal Research Center for Food Preservation in 1936. He was the rector of the Fridericiana for the first time in 1930/31 and twice in total.

His second time as Rector was of particular importance to the further development of the Technical University of Karlsruhe. Plank was  the first rector of the Technical University after the second world war. Due to his politically irreproachable past, he was in favor of a democratic university that as soon as possible strived to once again catch up with international standards. He also set the course for universities to cooperate with each other in science, technology, economics and humanities.

Plank became familiar with all the major cultures of the globe through his travels that lead him to all the European countries and nearly every continent - even from 1933 until 1945. He adapted Baudelaire like Puschkin, Pasternak oder Jewtuschenko and translated Russian drama into German.

“Der von mir besonders schmerzlich empfundene Niedergang der Hochschule veranlaßte mich im Frühjahr 1939 bei dem Badischen Ministerium des Kultus und Unterrichts um Entlassung aus dem Staatsdienst zu bitten, nachdem mir die
Gesellschaft für Lindes Eismaschinen in Wiesbaden eine Tätigkeit als Vorstandsmitglied angeboten hatte.”

(Auszug aus der Personalakte Plank im Universitätsarchiv Karlsruhe)"