In December 2011, more than 200 guests celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the MPI-IE. "Future needs Ancestry" emphasized Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society, and honoured the accomplishments of the MPI-IE. As a symbol of its scientific achievements, Peter Gruss presented the MPI-IE with a bust of Minerva, the Roman goddess of science. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, rector of the University of Freiburg, and Dieter Salomon, Lord Mayor of the City of Freiburg, emphasized the importance of the institute for the region.
The event received additional scientific profile by a symposium, during which internationally leading scientists presented their work on topics related to the research of the MPI-IE.