The Scientific World of Karl-Friedrich Bonhoeffer

The Entanglement of Science, Religion, and Politics in Nazi Germany

  • Kathleen L. Housley

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 1-6
  3. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 7-28
  4. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 29-49
  5. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 51-74
  6. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 75-86
  7. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 87-111
  8. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 113-131
  9. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 133-146
  10. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 147-164
  11. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 165-190
  12. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 191-212
  13. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 213-238
  14. Kathleen L. Housley
    Pages 239-266
  15. Back Matter
    Pages 267-328

About this book


In twentieth-century Germany, Karl-Friedrich Bonhoeffer rose to prominence as a brilliant physical chemist, even as several of his relatives—Dietrich Bonhoeffer among them—became involved in the resistance to Hitler, leading to their executions. This book traces the entanglement of science, religion, and politics in the Third Reich and in the lives of Karl-Friedrich, his family and his colleagues, including Fritz Haber and Werner Heisenberg. Nominated for the Nobel Prize, Karl-Friedrich was an expert on heavy water, a component of the atomic bomb. During the war, he was caught in the middle between relatives who were trying to kill Hitler and friends who were helping Hitler build a nuclear weapon. Karl-Friedrich emerges as a complex figure—an agnostic whose brother was a renowned theologian, and a chemist who both reluctantly advised German nuclear scientists and collaborated with Paul Rosbaud, a spy for the British. Illuminating the uneasy position of science in twentieth-century Germany, The Scientific World of Karl-Friedrich Bonhoeffer is the story of a man in love with chemistry, his family, and his nation, trying to do right by all of them in the midst of chaos.


Karl-Friedrich Bonhoeffer Dietrich Bonhoeffer The Bonhoeffer family Nazism Nazi Germany Nazi Atomic bomb research quantum mechanics Nazi resistance the Uranium Club Max Planck Michael Polanyi Paul Rosbaud World War II Werner Heisenberg science and religion quantum mechanics shell shock pure science Manhattan Project ethics and science

Authors and affiliations

  • Kathleen L. Housley
    • 1
  1. 1.GlastonburyUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-95800-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-95801-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site