Heinz-Otto Peitgen

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Heinz-Otto Peitgen
President of Jacobs University
In office
Preceded by Joachim Treusch
Personal details
Born Heinz-Otto Peitgen
(1945-04-39) April 39, 1945 (age 69)
Nümbrecht, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Alma mater University of Bonn
Profession Scientist, University administrator

Heinz-Otto Peitgen (born April 30, 1945 in Bruch, Nümbrecht near Cologne) is a German mathematician and was President of Jacobs University from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014, following a controversial resignation. Peitgen is one of the most prominent researchers in the study of fractals.


Peitgen studied mathematics, physics and economics from 1965 until 1971 in Bonn,where he received his PhD in 1973. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “Asymptotische Fixpunktsätze und Stabilität” (English: “Asymptotic Fixed-point Theorems and Stability”).

After receiving his habilitation in 1977, he was awarded a professorship in mathematics at the University of Bremen, where he served until 2012. There, he was involved in the establishment and development of the Institute for Dynamical Systems, where in 1982 he set up a computer graphics laboratory for mathematical experiments. Since 1992, Peitgen has served as the founder and director of the Center for Complex Systems and Visualization (Centrum für Complexe Systeme und Visualisierung - CeVis) at the University of Bremen. His research specialities include mathematics, computer science and medicine and emphasize algebraic topology, non-linear functional analysis, partial differential equations, functional differential equations, dynamical systems, numerical analysis, chaos theory, fractal geometry, computer graphics, image processing, and image and data analysis, as well as medical image computing, focusing on medical diagnostics and surgery with a particular emphasis on oncology, as well as neuro-degenerative and cardio-vascular diseases.

From 1985 until 1991, Peitgen was also a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and from 1991 to 2012 he has been a professor of mathematics and biomedical sciences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Currently he is a professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University. In 1995, he founded the not-for-profit Center for Medical Image Computing, MeVis Research GmbH, in Bremen, which became a Fraunhofer Society institute at the beginning of 2009 and is now called the Fraunhofer MEVIS - Institute for Medical Image Computing. Peitgen left the directorship of the institute in 2012, after he retired from the University of Bremen. In 1997, Peitgen and some of his colleagues founded a commercial company, MeVis Medical Solutions AG (de), MMS, which has been listed on the German stock market since 2007. MMS is one of the world’s leading independent producers of software products for image-based medicine, particularly digital radiology. With its software solutions, it provides medical practitioners with substantial added value in screening and diagnostics as well as therapy and intervention planning for cancer, particularly breast cancer, neurology and lung conditions. Peitgen is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Peitgen has been appointed to chairs at several German and American universities and has served as a visiting professor at universities in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the USA, Mexico and Italy. He is the author of several award-winning books and films that have helped to publicize fractal geometry and chaos theory around the world and is co-editor of several professional journals with an international readership.

In 1992, Peitgen was elected as a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and in 2008 as a member of the Goettingen Academy of Sciences. Since 2015 he was elected Dean of Class IV - Natural Sciences in the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

University Leadership[edit]

On January 1, 2013, Dr. Peitgen took over as President of Jacobs University (Former International University Bremen), Bremen, Germany.[1] He is the successor of former President Joachim Treusch. He resigned from the post at the end of 2013.[2]


  • 1996: Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
  • 1999: Karl Heinz Beckurts-Preis für Forschung und Innovation[3]
  • 2005: Werner-Körte-Medaille in Gold der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Chirurgie (DGCH)[4]
  • 2006: Deutscher Gründerpreis 2006 in der Kategorie „Visionäre“[5]
  • 2013: Fraunhofer-Medaille[6]

Selected books[edit]

  • The Beauty of Fractals, Springer, Heidelberg, 1986 (with P. H. Richter)
  • The Science of Fractal Images, Springer Verlag, Tokyo, Springer, New York, 1988 (with D. Saupe)
  • Newton's Method and Dynamical Systems, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1989
  • Fractals for the Classroom – Part One, Springer-Verlag, New York, and NCTM, 1991 (with H. Jürgens and D. Saupe)
  • Fractals for the Classroom – Part Two, Springer-Verlag, New York, and NCTM, 1992 (with H. Jürgens and D. Saupe)
  • Fractals for the Classroom – Strategic Activities, Vol. 1, Springer-Verlag, New York, and NCTM, 1990 (with H. Jürgens, D. Saupe, E. Maletsky, T. Perciante and L. Yunker)
  • Fractals for the Classroom – Strategic Activities, Vol. 2, Springer-Verlag, New York, and NCTM, 1992 (with H. Jürgens, D. Saupe, E. Maletsky, T. Perciante and L. Yunker)
  • Fractals for the Classroom – Strategic Activities, Vol. 3, Springer-Verlag, New York, and NCTM, 1999 (with H. Jürgens, D. Saupe, E. Maletsky, T. Perciante)
  • Chaos and Fractals: New Frontiers of Science, Springer-Verlag, 1992 (with H. Jürgens and D. Saupe); 2nd edition 2004, ISBN 0387202293


Press Release Jacobs University 2013


External links[edit]