Gustav Hertz studied physics in Göttingen, Munich and Berlin, focusing on the newly developing field of quantum mechanics. He worked on his doctorate under Heinrich Rubens at Berliner Universität between 1909 and 1911 and became an assistant at the Institute of Physics, where he worked until 1925. There followed a brief interlude in Halle, after which he took over a professorship at the TH (Technical University) Charlottenburg, from which he resigned in 1935 because of the Nazi racial laws.
In Berlin Hertz studied the effect of electron collisions on atoms, together with James Franck. In 1925 the two scientists received the Nobel Prize for Physics for the Franck-Hertz experiment.