The first room in the exhibition – the former music and dining room of the Ostwald family – presents selected stages in the scientist’s life: from his childhood in Riga with information on his family history and the beginnings of his scientific experiments to his appointment to the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Leipzig, being awarded the Nobel Prize, and Ostwald’s later research into colour theory.
Wilhelm Ostwald is rightly described as a polymath, and this is especially apparent from his diverse research literature. In his library containing about 24,000 publications, visitors can immerse themselves in Ostwald’s era. To preserve its original atmosphere, there are no large information panels here. Instead, there are small handouts explaining the library’s structure.
The highlight of the exhibition is Wilhelm Ostwald’s laboratory with the original lab bench where he conducted numerous chemical experiments. The laboratory was also used as a painting workshop and experimental room for his theory of colours. Wilhelm Ostwald made the gas mixture required for the Bunsen burner himself as there was no external gas supply when he moved into Haus Energie.
As its name suggests, this room was used in Ostwald’s time for ironing and folding laundry. Later on, it was converted into a library. Today, it sheds light on the history of the Nobel Prize. During your visit, don’t forget to read about the thrilling connection to Albert Einstein!
The exhibition also includes a repository with scientific apparatus, a paint and paper store containing over 1,000 painted landscapes and about 3,000 colour sketches by Wilhelm Ostwald, and a furniture store. The repository, the storerooms, and the extensive archive can be used with the help of members of staff.
Energie-Reich is used for temporary exhibitions. Displays addressing aspects of Wilhelm Ostwald’s life are presented here.
In addition, it’s also a place of relaxation where you can restore your own ‘Energie’ levels by means of tea or coffee!