On June 14, 2002, Peter Gruss assumed the office of President of the Max Planck Society. On November 23, 2001, the Senate of the Max Planck Society elected him for the 2002-2008 term of office. The Senat reelected Peter Gruss for a second term of office, from 2008 to 2014, on June 28th, 2007.
Peter Gruss was born in 1949 in Alsfeld in Germany. In 1968, he began his studies in biology at the Technical University in Darmstadt. After graduating, he went to the Institute for Virus Research at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg where he wrote his doctoral thesis. In 1977, he earned his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Heidelberg. The following year he went to the Laboratory of Molecular Virology of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, (USA). In 1982, he was appointed to Professor in the Institute for Microbiology at the University of Heidelberg. One year later, he was designated to the Board of Directors of the Center for Molecular Biology in Heidelberg. In 1986, he was named to Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and to Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. Since 1990, Peter Gruss has held the status of honorary professor at the University of Göttingen.