He was born in Dachau (Bavaria) in 1931. He studied physics at the Technical University of Stuttgart and Munchen, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1961 under H. Maier-Leibniz, Technical University Munchen. His major research fields were fission, interaction of heavy ions in matter and atomic physics with fission product beams at the Research Center of Julich (1965 – 1970).
From 1989 – 1992 he was research Director of the European Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL), Grenoble. He was Senior Scientist at the Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung Darmstadt, GSI, from 1971 – 1996. He developed recoil separators equipped with new detector systems during most of his scientific career. His main research activities were: synthesis and production of new elements and isotopes, studies of reaction mechanisms, studies of characteristic X-rays produced in ion-atom collisions – among others X-ray emission from transient superheavy collision systems, studies on track formation of heavy ions in solids by neutron and X-ray small angle scattering. He also directed experiments on isotope production in fission by relativistic reactions of 238U. Since 1996 he is involved in a project on incineration of nuclear waste by spallation and fission reactions.
He has received many awards for his work, to mention a few: the Max-Born Medal awarded by the Institute of Physics London and the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in 1988, and the Stern-Gerlach Medal awarded by the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft in 1997.