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Walter Greiner (29 October 1935 – 6 October 2016) was a German theoretical physicist. His research interests lied in atomic physics, heavy ion physics, nuclear physics, elementary particle physics (particularly in quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics). He is known for his series of books in theoretical physics, particularly in Germany but also around the world.



Greiner was born on 29 October 1935, in Neuenbau, Sonnenberg, Germany.

He studied physics at the University of Frankfurt (Goethe University Frankfurt), receiving a BSci in physics, a master's degree in 1960 with a thesis on Plasma-reactors, and a PhD in 1961 at the University of Freiburg under Hans Marshal, with a thesis on the nuclear polarization in μ-mesic atoms. During 1962-1964 he was assistant professor at the University of Maryland, followed by a Research Associate, University of Freiburg, 1964.[1]

Starting in 1965, he became a full professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Goethe University Frankfurt until 1995.

Greiner has been a visiting professor to many universities and laboratories, including Florida State University, the University of Virginia, the University of California, the University of Melbourne, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In 2003, with Wolf Singer, he was the founding Director of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS), and gave lectures and seminars in elementary particle physics. He died on 6 October 2016 at the age of 80.[2]


His son Carsten Greiner is a professor of theoretical physics at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. His son Martin Greiner is professor of system engineering and sustainable energy systems at the University of Aarhus, working in wind energy research.

Graduate studentsEdit

His doctoral students include Horst Stöcker and Johann Rafelski.


Greiner has received numerous scientific awards, including the Max Born Prize, the Otto Hahn Prize, and the Alexander von Humboldt Medal.[3] Many of his students are holders of chairs at home and abroad or employees at renowned scientific institutions.


Greiner's books cover most of theoretical physics, although there are more in the areas of his research (quantum mechanics and field theory, with applications). Following are the English translations of the books. See the German Wikipedia for the original German editions (which includes a volume on hydrodynamics, not published in the English series).

Classical theoretical physics series
  • W. Greiner (2004). Classical Mechanics: Point Particles and Relativity. springer. ISBN 9780387955865.
  • W. Greiner (2010). Classical Mechanics: Systems of Particles and Hamiltonian Dynamics (2nd ed.). springer. ISBN 9783642034336.
  • W. Greiner; D.A. Bromley (1998). Classical Electrodynamics. springer. ISBN 9780387947990.
  • W. Greiner; L. Neise; H. Stöcker (2001). Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. springer. ISBN 9780387942995.
Theoretical physics series


External linksEdit