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GSI  >  About us  >  Management  >  Former Directors
Former Scientific Directors
Foto: Gaby Otto/GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

Professor Dr. Karlheinz Langanke

2015-2016 (ad interim)

Karlheinz Langanke was born on 13th February 1951 in Bockum-Hövel. He studied physics at the University of Münster and obtained his doctorate in 1980. After a postdoc position at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) he was professor at the University of Munster from 1987 to 1992. In 1992 he became a member of the Faculty at Caltech as Senior Research Associate with Steven Koonin. In 1996 he accepted a chair at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Since 2005 he is professor for theoretical physics at Technische Universität Darmstadt and senior fellow at GSI. From 2006 until 2015 he was Research Director of GSI. His research focuses on theoretical calculations of nuclear reactions in supernovae and stellar element synthesis. For his scientific work Langanke was awarded among others with the Lise Meitner Prize by the European Physical Society in 2012 and with the Benjamin Lee Professorship Award by the Asian Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in 2015. He was elected into the Academia Europaea and was appointed honorary member of the Hellenic Nuclear Physics Society. Langanke was and is member of numerous significant scientific committees in Europe, America, and Japan.

Karlheinz Langanke
Foto: Gaby Otto/GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Horst Stöcker


Horst Stöcker was Scientific Director of GSI from 2007 until 2015. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and studied physics, chemistry, mathematics, philosophy and theology at the Goethe University Frankfurt. After his PhD in 1979 he worked as a guest scientist at GSI and joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the University of California, as a NATO fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service. He taught as an assistant professor at the Michigan State University and did research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan, USA, from 1982 to 1985, before he accepted a professorship for theoretical physics at the Goethe University in 1985. Since 2004 he holds the Judah M. Eisenberg professorship. He was vice president of the Goethe University as well as of the Helmholtz Association. Besides he was founding member of the board of directors of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS). His studies involve relativistic heavy ion and elementary particle physics as well as their impact on the physics of supernovae, neutron stars and black holes. He is one of the 200 most-cited scientists worldwide. (Status 2015)


Professor Dr. Walter F. Henning


Walter F. Henning, born in 1939, studied physics in Darmstadt and Munich. In 1968 he received his PhD with a thesis in nuclear physics at the TU München. From 1969 to 1976 he worked as a scientific assistant in the department of physics at TU München. During this time he finished his habilitation thesis in nuclear physics. From 1973 to 1975 he joined the Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, USA, as a visiting scientist and from 1977 to 1986 he worked there as staff physicist. From 1983 he taught as professor at the University of Chicago, until he accepted a professorship at the University of Mainz in 1986. Parallely he started working as division head at GSI, Darmstadt. In 1992 he became the director for the physics division at Argonne National Laboratory.

From 1999 to 2007 he came back to Gemany, joining GSI as Scientific Director and University Frankfurt as professor. The main topic of his studies were nuclear reactions and the structure of atomic nuclei.

2007 he relocated to Argonne National Laboratory. (Status 2007)


Professor Dr. Hans Joachim Specht


Hans J. Specht, born in 1936, studied physics in Munich and Zurich.
After he finished his PhD 1964 in Munich he worked at AECL, Canada, for a short period of time, before he returned to work at TU Munich for several years.
In 1973 he accepted a professorship in experimental physics at the University of Heidelberg. Primarily he set the main focus of his research on atomic and nuclear physics; in 1982 he changed his interests to high-energy heavy-ion physics and spent several research stays at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
From 1992 to 1999 he was Scientific Director of GSI in Darmstadt. In 2000 he joined the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He retired in 2004.


Professor Dr. Paul Kienle



Professor Dr. Gisbert zu Putlitz



Professor Dr. Christoph Schmelzer †


Former Administrative Directors

Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Henschel

2014 (ad interim)

From May to November 2014 Jürgen Henschel was Administrative Director of GSI ad interim. He studied mechanical engineering at Technische Universität Braunschweig and Technische Hochschule Darmstadt (today Technische Universität Darmstadt). After finishing his studies, he worked at Universität Clausthal where he completed his PhD in 1999. His transition to industry lead him through different positions, areas of business and locations amongst others in the USA and Switzerland. At Tyco Electronics he advanced from project leader to CEO of different divisions. In a final step, as chief of development and director of project management, he was responsible for the expense optimization of the core products in the Datacom division.

From 2013 to 2015 he was head of the department "Controlling & Organisation" at GSI. Since April 2015 he is head of the FAIR project management at GSI. (Status 2015)


Peter Hassenbach


From 2011 to 2014 Peter Hassenbach was Administrative Director of GSI.

Born in 1964, he studied economics in Mainz and Bonn. Until 1999 he worked post-graduate as advisor of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Bonn. Subsequently he worked, amongst other companies, for Daimler Chrysler AG, Stuttgart, in the department of traffic telematics. In 2003 he returned to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Berlin, where he became head of the division "Nutrition and Renewable Resources" in 2009. From 2010 he was head of the division "Healthcare Management". (Status 2014)


Christiane Neumann


From 2008 to 2010 Christiane Neumann was Administrative Director of GSI. Born in 1953, she studied law in Frankfurt and Berlin. After some years as independent lawyer she worked as Advisor with the Berlin Senate Department for Youth and Family. In 1992 she took over as Administrative Director of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), a Member of the Leibniz Association. From 1999 to 2003 she served there as Administrative Vice President for two terms of office. Since 2005 she helped to set up a privately founded university for politics as its director, the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Christiane Neumann is a Member of the German Society of Educational Administration. (Status 2010)


Dr. Alexander Kurz



Dr. Helmut Zeitträger



Hans Otto Schuff †


Former Technical Director

Dr. Hartmut Eickhoff