Wolfgang Götze †

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Former Chair of Theoretical Physics
TUM Department of Physics

born July 11, 1937 to Ocotober 20, 2021



The name Wolfgang Götze is inseparable from the development of the field of liquids and glasses. With the Mode Coupling theory he developed in the 1980s, he took an important step closer to a detailed understanding of glass transition. This involved freezing liquids as a dynamic transition from ergodic to nonergodic behaviour. His work stimulated this discipline like no other, and a long succession of experiements and computer simulations widely confirmed his early prognoses of amorphous systems. His numerous placements as visiting researcher brought him to internationally renowned institutes of physics in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Hungary. Additionally, he did research at the Physics Department at the University of Illinois (USA), the Steklov Institute of Mathematics in Moscow (Russia) and at the Department of Physics at the University of California, (USA), where early on he met up with proponents of the theory of condensed matter. Wolfgang Götze received the Max-Planck-Medaille for his exception achievements, the highest national honour in the field of theoretical physics. His monograph “Complex Dynamics of Glass-Forming Liquids – a Mode-Coupling Theory” was published in 2009.


Short biography

1955 – 1961 Studies in Physics, Humboldt University, Freie Universität Berlin
1963 Doctorate in Theoretical Physics, Technische Hochschule München
1963 – 1965 Research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, Munich
1965 Bursary from the Clemens-Plassmann-Stiftung for study at the University of Illinois, USA
1966 Research Associate, University of Illinois, USA
1967 – 1996 Group director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, Munich
1970 – 2003 Chair of Theoretical Physics, Technische Universität München 



Member of the German Physical Society

Member of the European Physical Society


Research stays

Visiting researcher at the Steklov Institute for Mathematics, Moscow, Russia (1969)

Visiting researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Univeristy of Helsinki, Finland (1973)

Visiting researcher at the University of California, Department of Physics, Los Angeles, California, USA (1976)

Visiting researcher at the Research Institute for Physics, Academy of Science, Budapest, Hungary (1976)

Visiting researcher at the Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1978, 1979)

Visiting researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Göteborg, Sweden (1983, 1988, 1993)

Visiting researcher at the La Sapienza University, Department of Physics, Rome, Italy (1998, 2003)



  • Award from Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Stockholm, Sweden (1993)
  • Tomassoni Award from La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy (2006)
  •  Max-Planck-Medaille from the Germany Physical Society (2006)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF215 KB]