Areas of Expertise

  • Theoretical physics
  • Analysis of complex systems
  • Climate change research
  • Sustainability science

Short Bio

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is a senior associate fellow in DGAP’s Center for Climate and Foreign Policy. As founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), he headed the institute from 1992 to 2018. In 2020, Schellnhuber founded Bauhaus Erde gGmbH with two partners and was its co-director until 2023. Since December 2023, he has been General Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. He is a member of numerous learned societies such as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

For his achievements, Schellnhuber was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (2004) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg (2008), the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011), and the Order of the Rising Sun (gold rays with collar) by the Japanese government (2020). In 2021, Schellnhuber received the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and was appointed Chevalier de la Légion d‘Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor) of the French Republic.

Schellnhuber studied physics and mathematics and obtained his doctorate in quantum mechanics at the University of Regensburg. After a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California Santa Barbara, he held various full professorships and numerous visiting professorships. Schellnhuber received honorary doctorates from the University of Copenhagen (2011), the Technical University of Berlin (2012), and the University of Exeter (2022). He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University (Beijing). He has published around 300 scientific articles and books in the fields of theoretical physics, analysis of complex systems, climate change research, sustainability science and other areas. Schellnhuber is listed by Clarivate as a Highly Cited Researcher (Cross Field).


German, English


[Last updated: December 2023]

Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber




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