Hermann Haken (physicist)

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Hermann Haken with the order Pour le Mérite (2014)

Hermann Haken (born July 12, 1927 in Leipzig ) is a German physicist and university professor . He is professor emeritus of the chair for theoretical physics at the University of Stuttgart and founder of synergetics .


After studying mathematics and physics in Halle (Saale) and Erlangen and completing his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Erlangen , he made guest stays in Great Britain and the USA .

In 1960 he was appointed to a chair for theoretical physics at the University of Stuttgart ( retirement 1995).

He dealt with nonlinear optics (especially laser physics ), solid state physics , statistical physics , group theory . Hook quickly expanded his institute into an international center for laser theory after Theodore Maiman realized the first experimental laser in May 1960. In 1962, Haken presented a completed theory of the laser that attracted international attention to the institute. The interpretation of the laser principle as the self-organization of non-equilibrium systems led to the development of synergetics in the late 1960s , the founder of which Haken is known today. He is the author of several books, including an Introduction to Synergetics, and the editor of a series of books on the subject. He later turned to uses of synergetics to study the function of the brain.

Hook became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1982, a member of the Leopoldina in 1982, a member of the Braunschweigische Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft in 1988 , a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences in 1989 and a member of the Academia Europaea and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1991 . In 1984 he was accepted into the Order Pour le Mérite for Science and the Arts , and in 1986 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit with a star . In 1990 he received the Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society and in 1994 the Lorenz Oken Medal of the Society of German Natural Scientists and Doctors . He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Essen , the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia , the Florida Atlantic University , the University of Regensburg and the Technical University of Munich .


  • with Peter J. Plath u. a .: Contributions to the history of synergetics. General principles of self-organization in nature and society , Springer Spectrum, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-658-12951-4 .
  • with P. Levi: Synergetic agents: From Multi-Robot Systems to Molecular Robotics , Wiley-VCH , 2012, ISBN 978-3-527-41166-5 .
  • Brain Dynamics: synchronization and activity dynamics in pulse-coupled neural nets with delay and noise , Springer Verlag 2007 (Springer Series in Synergetics)
  • Synergetic computers and cognition: a top down approach to neural nets , Springer, 1991, 2nd edition 2004
  • Molecular Physics and Quantum Chemistry - Introduction to Theoretical and Experimental Basics , Springer 1992, 5th edition 2006
  • Hermann hook, Hans Christoph Wolf : atomic and quantum physics . Springer-Verlag , 8th edition, 2003, ISBN 3-540-02621-5 .
  • Information and Self-Organization: a macroscopic approach to complex systems , Springer, 3rd edition 2006 (Springer Series in Synergetics)
  • with Günther Schiepek: Synergetics in Psychology: Understanding and Shaping Self-Organization , Göttingen, Hogrefe 2006
  • Nature's secrets of success: Synergetics, the doctrine of interaction , DVA 1981, Ullstein 1988, Rowohlt 1995
  • The Self-Structuring of Matter: Synergetics in the Inanimate World , Vieweg 1991
  • with Maria Haken-Krell: The emergence of biological information and order , Scientific Book Society 1995
  • Synergetics: Introduction and Advanced Topics , Springer 2004 (first as Advanced Synergetics: Instability Hierarchies of self organizing systems and devices , Springer, 1983)
  • Synergetics, an Introduction: Non-equilibrium Phase Transitions and Self-Organization in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology , Springer, 1977
  • Published by: Cooperative Phenomena , Springer 1973
  • Licht und Materie , Vol. 1: Elements of Quantum Optics, 1979, 2nd edition, Bibliographisches Institut (BI), Mannheim 1989, Vol. 2: Laser, BI 1981
  • Laser Theory , Springer 1984, reprint from S.Flügge (editor), Handbuch der Physik, Vol. 25 / 2c, 1970,
  • Quantum field theory of the solid , Teubner 1973
  • Editor: Excitons at high density , Springer 1975


  • Jürgen Kriz & Wolfgang Tschacher (eds.): Synergetics as a folder - the structuring effect of the interdisciplinary ideas of Hermann Hakens. Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers, 2017, ISBN 978-3-95853-330-1 .
  • Bernd Kröger: Hermann Haken and the early years of synergetics , Logos Verlag Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-8325-3561-2
  • Hermann Haken , in: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 17/1992 from April 13, 1992, in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely accessible)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Member entry by Hermann Haken (with picture and CV) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on July 10, 2016.