TUM Emeritus of Excellence Georg Färber

“The hurdles were pretty high“

Successful entrepreneur and internationally renowned scientist at the same time: Georg Färber mastered this challenge. In the role of TUM Emeritus of Excellence he is still a highly valued advisor  to his Alma Mater.

TUM Alumni Georg Färber never thought his two professions as a successful entrepreneur and an internationally renowned scientist contradict each other. However, it was not always easy to combine the two. “Having finished my Ph.D. in 1967, the hurdles for starting a business were still pretty high” he recounts. “In comparison to today it was almost considered ungentlemanly to get your hands dirty with something like that. And it was difficult to receive something like seed money.” But Georg Färber did not let this discourage him: together with his brother he founded a computer business, the company could be expanded to 350 staff members and is still – after 50 years in the market – operating successfully.

Great Personalities

As early as a twelve-year-old, Georg Färber enjoyed tinkering with radios and dealt with electrical circuits – “back then still based on vacuum tube technology”. So it suggested itself to study Electrical Engineering at the, then still called, Polytechnic Munich. Having completed his degree programme and with a very good diploma in the bag, Georg Färber took on an position in Cybernetics at TUM. “I fondly remember this time. I met great personalities, such as the later winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine Bert Sakmann or the professors Heisenberg and von Weizsäcker.” After finishing his Ph.D., it was time to start his own business. Teaching assignments kept him closely connected to TUM and in 1973 he returned to his Alma Mater for a professorship in Real-Time Computer Systems. His research results in the areas of Process Computers and Real-Time Computer Systems, Autonomous Robots, and Cognitive Vehicles received worldwide recognition. Additionally, his entrepreneurial spirit was in high demand at the university: “If you are responsible for a big chair at a university, you are some kind of entrepreneur as well, especially if it involves projects including several departments and faculties”, says Georg Färber.

Georg Färber, President Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Vice President Ana Santos Kühn at the presentation of certificates.

President Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Vice President Dr. Ana Santos Kühn hand Georg Färber his golden doctoral certificate in December 2017 (Photo: Justa).

Beneficial For Both Sides

In 1988, Georg Färber’s expertise was in high demand in the business world. He took leave from his position at TUM and became technical director at Mannesmann Kienzle, a company with about 10.000 members of staff. “This involvement was indeed perceived controversially, Georg Färber admits. “But I believe that such exchange between the academic and economic world can be beneficial for both sides.”

Since he is retired, Georg Färber holds the title TUM Emeritus of Excellence, which the university awards to extraordinarily committed professors in retirement. He still contributes his experience to TUM and volunteers, for example in the appointment processes or as a board member in big research projects. “This allows me to stay on the pulse of what is happening at TUM.” In his family already the generation after next is studying at TUM. “After my three sons, who are all TUM Alumni, my oldest granddaughter will complete her bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in 2018, and I hope it is time for the next grandchildren soon, too.”