Prof. Dürr was born on October 7, 1929 in Stuttgart. He received his doctorate in 1956 at the University of California at Berkeley with Edward Teller and got his habilitation in 1962. From 1958 to 1976, Dürr worked with Werner Heisenberg, whom he succeeded in 1978 as managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich. In addition to his work in nuclear and elementary particle physics, he turned increasingly to epistemological, philosophical and social issues. He shared his ideas with the participants of the Rhodes Forum.
He emphasized the responsibility of scientists for peace, ecology and global justice and became an important voice in the debate on disarmament of the 80s. He is the author of numerous publications and has received many awards. In various roles, he has worked with various organizations, the Federation of German Scientists, the Club of Rome, the Pugwash Conference, Greenpeace and the World Future Council.
In 1987 he received the Right Livelihood Award in recognition of “his profound critique of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and its work to make sophisticated technology available for peaceful purposes.”
Hans-Peter Dürr was a scholar, who always had the social significance of his scientific work in mind, and a concerned citizen, who wanted to put the methods of science and technology in the service of the global society. As a pioneer of peace and ecology movement, he has initiated important policy debates. And as a frontier between science, philosophy and spirituality, he opened many people's eyes for the foundations of our being.