Person: Meinhardt, Hans
Hans Meinhardt was a German scientist who is known for his pioneering work in the field of pattern formation in biology.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Already at this time the Soviet Army was in control of Mühlhausen, the city in which Hans was living, and it became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1949.
- Hans began his school education in Mühlhausen.
- The rest of Hans Meinhardt's education was in West Germany.
- Meinhardt attended the University of Heidelberg and the University of Cologne where he studied mathematics and physics.
- The Institute of Genetics, the first institute at a German university that was exclusively dedicated to research in molecular biology, was opened in 1962 and at the opening ceremony Niels Bohr gave the lecture "Light and life revisited." Meinhardt, a student at Cologne at this time, attended this lecture.
- After completing his doctorate, Meinhardt was appointed to a 3-year postdoctoral position at the European High Energy Laboratory (CERN) in Geneva.
- So after completing his three years as a postdoctoral worker at CERN, in 1969 Meinhardt joined the group headed by Alfred Gierer at the Max Planck Institute for Virus Research in Tübingen, Germany.
- Meinhardt's first task at this Institute was an experimental one but again Meinhardt found experimental work not to his liking and looked for a theoretical project.
- After attending a seminar, Meinhardt thought he could make use of his skills in computer modelling to simulate the experimental ideas presented in the seminar.
- The University of Tübingen, however, had a computer centre with a Hollerith machine operated by punch cards, and Meinhardt was able to make use of this machine.
- The result of this work was presented in the fundamental paper A theory of biological pattern formation written by Gierer and Meinhardt and published in 1972.
- Meinhardt continued to develop these models and in 1982 published the book Models of Biological Pattern Formation.
- Among these models, that of Gierer and Meinhardt, first published about a decade ago, has accounted with notable success for Hydra regeneration and response to grafting and for effects of damage in early insect embryogenesis.
- Meinhardt's book is principally a detailed account of the correlation of this model with a wide variety of experimental phenomena.
- Meinhardt's second book was The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells: The Virtual Laboratory (1995).
- Meinhardt retired in 2003 but, like so many research scientists, he continued to work on a variety of projects.
- Hans Meinhardt was a happy and dedicated scientist.
- As Hans was fond of saying: "So wird's gemacht" - that's how it's done.
Born 23 December 1938, Mühlhausen, Thuringia, Germany. Died 11 February 2016, Tübingen, Germany.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive