The Harnack Lecture is an honorary event organized by the Max Planck Society to commemorate Adolf von Harnack (1851 to 1930), the German science reformer.
The church historian Adolf von Harnack was one of the most influential science policy advisors to the government of his day. He provided the German science system with its current structure by introducing non-university basic research. Many papers on research and education policy, women’s education, peace policy and international cooperation document his keen awareness of burning social issues to which he sought solutions, not least by promoting research. The Max Planck Society today continues his concept of excellence as the Harnack principle, by adapting it to meet modern-day requirements. Harnack saw international networking, which he promoted by founding the Harnack House, as a key element in the advancement of research. It opened in 1929 as a guest house for foreign researchers and is today used by the Max Planck Society as a conference venue.