Creativity and intuition

Much has been written about Gunter Sachs - who acquired fame as a successful designer, sportsman, entrepreneur, art collector, respected filmmaker and photographer. But there were sides to him less well-known than his jet-set lifestyle.

Gunter Sachs was a man of many passions. He had an enquiring mind and was never satisfied with simple answers. His friends, colleagues and business partners were impressed time and again by his unabated energy and clear ideas.

As a young man, Gunter Sachs studied mathematics and business administration, at the request of his father. In 1995, he set up an "Institute for the Empirical and Mathematical Examination of the Possible Truth of Astrology". And scientists acknowledged that it was to Sachs' credit "to have spread the realization that astrological hypotheses are just as susceptible to empirical examination as other scientific statements — using the methods of mathematical statistics as an aid".

(…) not because I believed in it particularly, but because out of curiosity I wanted to find out.

- Gunter Sachs

Not so well known either is his commitment to basic medical research. Not only did Gunter Sachs support the prestigious Salk Institute in San Diego but also the Max Planck Society over many years. He was on the Board of Trustees of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich and enjoyed a close friendship with its former Director Florian Holsboer. In his will, Sachs left a generous bequest to the Institute with the aid of which it proved possible to set up the Gunter Sachs Laboratory. This laboratory opened up new opportunities to the Institute to research the genetic causes of psychological and neurological diseases. Here, scientists are attempting to decode changes to the genome caused by external influences. Analyses of this nature, which look at the interaction between genetic disposition and environmental influences, are costly from a technical perspective. Owing to the generous grant, the Institute was now in a position to work on this subject with very good prospects for success.

Gunter Sachs was a creative man driven by emotion. And he quickly grasped that researchers, too, need intuition and creative space to achieve the best results. However, this freedom costs money — detours or even failures cannot be ruled out. Bequests of the kind Gunter Sachs left to the Max Planck Society enable this principle to be further pursued. His widow Mirja wrote the following on the subject: "He was convinced that the money was well invested in the MPG and that important insights for humanity are gained and put to practical use from here."

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