Gerhard Neuweiler

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Gerhard Neuweiler (born May 18, 1935 in Nagold ; † August 15, 2008 in Munich ) was a German zoologist and university politician.

Live and act

Neuweiler began his natural science studies in 1955 at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen , which he continued at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , where he obtained his doctorate in 1962 under Franz Peter Möhres on the physiology of vision in fruit bats. At first he continued his research at the University of Madras , and then as an assistant in Tübingen he set up a working group that researched the echolocation of bats . In 1972 he followed (with his working group) a call to the professorship for animal physiology at the University of Frankfurt , from where he moved to the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich in 1980 and the work of his predecessors Richard Hertwig , Karl von Frisch and until his retirement in 2003 Hansjochem Autrum continued. In 1985 he was made a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . During a stay as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin , he got to know and appreciate the composer György Ligeti , with whom he pursued the problem of "motor intelligence" in an interdisciplinary manner .

In political terms, Neuweiler already emerged in Tübingen as the spokesman for the southern German university assistants, published a brilliant analysis of the state of the German universities in Die ZEIT in 1969 and called for extensive reforms of the university system. In Frankfurt he was the leading representative of the university political opposition in the convent of the university. Later he was active as Senate Chairman of the DFG , Chairman of the Science Council , Curator of the Volkswagen Foundation (1994 to 2004) and in numerous other associations and institutions. For twelve years between 1990 and 2002, as chairman of the scientific advisory board and as a member of the supervisory board, he decisively influenced the fortunes of the Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH (DPZ) in terms of the development of a reference and competence center of international standing. He is one of the authors of the 2004 memorandum "Rethinking University." In 2001/2002 he was President of the German Zoological Society .

His main scientific achievement is the successful integration of neurophysiology , neuroanatomy , behavioral ecology and psychophysics . Among other things, he was awarded the Karl-Ritter-von-Frisch Medal of the German Zoological Society in 1990. In 1991 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .


  • Biology of Bats Stuttgart 1993
  • Comparative animal physiology , 2 volumes (with Gerhard Heldmaier ). Berlin 2003
  • Motor intelligence: between music and science (with G. Ligeti). Berlin 2007
  • And yet we are - the crown of evolution. Berlin 2009


jsl The crown and the bat. On the death of the neurobiologist Gerhard Neuweiler . Süddeutsche Zeitung August 22, 2008

Individual evidence

  1. Obituary by Benedikt Grothe (PDF; 392 kB)

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