Theo Geisel

Director em.,
Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization
Professor of Theoretical Physics,
University of Göttingen
Prof. Dr. Theo Geisel

How do the myriads of neurons in our cortex cooperate when we perceive an object or perform another task? Are there statistical principles underlying human travel and can they be used to forecast the geographic spreading of modern epidemics?
Questions like these address the complex dynamics of spatially extended or multicomponent nonlinear systems, which still reserve many surprises. In large networks of firing neurons, e.g., we found unstable attractors, a phenomenon which would neither have been guessed nor understood without mathematical modelling and which many physicists consider an oxymoron. The tools and mathematical methods developed in studies of chaotic behaviour in the past can now help us clarify the dynamics and function of complex networks and spatially extended systems and reveal the biological or physical role of dynamical phenomena like e.g. unstable attractors.

Information on our current research topic of humanizing music can be found here.

  Selected Publications MPI Department BCCN Göttingen University Chair

Curriculum Vitae

Studies of Physics: Universities of Frankfurt and Regensburg
Dr. rer. nat. and
Dr. habil.:
University of Regensburg
Post-Doc.: Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
1988-1989: Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Würzburg
1989-1996: Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Frankfurt
(Chairperson of the SFB Nonlinear Dynamics)
since 1996 Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Göttingen and
Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization
since 2005 Founder and Chairperson, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience
(BCCN) Göttingen

Awards and Fellowships

Heisenberg Fellow (DFG, 1983)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (DFG, 1994)
Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS, 2008)
Gentner-Kastler Prize (Société Française de Physique and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, 2009)
Member, Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Editorial Boards

Physical Review X (American Physical Society)

Chaos, Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science (American Institute of Physics)


Mail Address: Am Faßberg 11
37077 Göttingen
Office: 1st floor, Room 1.77
Phone: +49-(0)551-5176-400
Email: geisel [at]