After his physics education at Humboldt University of Berlin and at the Free University of Berlin as well as his doctorate in Munich in 1963, there followed guest academic stays in the USA and Moscow. In 1970 Götze accepted a chair for theoretical physics at the Technical University of Munich. There until his retirement in 2004 he did research on various problems of condensed matter physics as well as fluid dynamics.
Especially well-known and significant is Götze's development of a mode-coupling theory that describes the microscopic dynamics of viscous liquids. When the theory was introduced in the 1980s, it was originally supposed to describe the glass transition. However, it soon became clear that the theory rather applies to liquids of moderate to low viscosity. In this regime, the theory has been thoroughly confirmed by experiments and simulations.
For his contributions to the theory of condensed matter, especially to mode-coupling theory, Götze received in 2006 the Max Planck medal of the Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. In addition, for this theory as well as his whole research work, he won in 2006 the Tomassoni prize.
- Complex Dynamics of glass forming liquids. A mode-coupling theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-923534-6.