In 1669 Emperor Leopold I. founded the University of Innsbruck as an institution comprising four faculties: theology, canon and civil law, medicine and philosophy. The first of the natural sciences in the Faculty of Philosophy was physics; this subject was taught from 1670 as part of the Aristotelian philosophy. Lectures with experiments were held for the first time in 1752. In 1892 the chair of theoretical astronomy was founded (Prof. Eduard von Haerdtl), which officially marks the foundation of astronomy at the university. In the years immediatly following 1901, when Egon von Oppolzer was appointed professor, the astronomical observatory was founded, well equipped with several valuable instruments, then one of the most modern observatories in the world.
In 1912 Victor Franz Hess reached a height of 5 km by ballon flights and was able to show that the current in an ion chamber increased with altitude. In addition, he established that there was no difference between the day and the night intensity from which he concluded that a new penetrating radiation from outside was responsible and gave it the name Höhenstrahlung. For the discovery of this cosmic radiation he got the nobel prize in 1936. His laboratory in Innsbruck was founded in 1931. It lies north of Innsbruck at an altitude of 2240 m.