Professor Walter Greiner was born in Neuenbau/Thuringia, Germany on 29 October 1935. After graduating from Frankfurt University in 1958, and obtaining the master degree in Technical University of Darmstadt, he pursued doctoral studies with Professor H. Marschall in Freiburg. He received his Ph.D. from Freiburg University in 1961.
From 1962 to 1964, he was an assistant Professor at University of Maryland, USA. In 1964 he was simultaneously offered the chair for theoretical physics at Frankfurt University and at Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and the full professorship at Duke University in Durham, NC, USA. Since 1 January 1965 he is Professor of Physics in the University of Frankfurt am Main . He has held visiting professorships at more that twenty universities world-wide, in particular at Yale University, University of Virginia, University of California at Berkeley etc.
Prof. Greiner was the first to be awarded the Max-Born Prize and Medal by Institute of Physics, London, and the German Physical Society in 1974. In 1982, he received Otto-Hahn-Prize. In 1998 he was awarded the Humboldt-medal. He is a Honorary Doctor of more than a dozen universities, in particular University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; University of Tel Aviv, Israel; Universite Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France; Universite Nantes, France; Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, University of St. Petersburg, Russia etc.
Professor Greiner contributed outstandingly into the world physics during the last 40 years. He works in nuclear structure (rotation-vibration model, dynamic collective model of giant resonances, general collective model (known as "Gneuss-Greiner model" or "Frankfurt collective model"), proton-neutron deformations and vibrations, prediction of island of superheavy nuclei, nuclear molecules), nuclear reactions (eigenchannel theory, prediction of cluster radioactivity, bimodal and superasymmetric nuclear fission), quantum electrodynamics of strong and overcritical fields (spontaneous decay of electron-positron vacuum in overcritical electric fields, superheavy quasimolecules, delta-electron- and positron emission in heavy ion collisions). He predicted nuclear shock waves and collective flow in high energy heavy ion collisions. The study of hot and dense nuclear matter and its possible phase transition, extension of the periodic system into new directions of strangeness and antimatter, as well as creation of dense clusters of matter and antimatter captured his interest during the last decade.
Professor Greiner authored and co-authored more the 700 publications in international journals. His textbooks on theoretical physics (14 volumes) were translated into 7 languages. The 3 volume text on Nuclear Theory (with J.M. Eisenberg) is classic in Nuclear Physics.
W.Greiner was the leading theoretician in the small group of German physicists, who initiated GSI (Geselschaft fuer Schwerionenforschung at Darmstadt) which has become one of the leading nuclear physics laboratories in the world.
During the last decades Prof. Greiner educated a lot of young physicists. More than 40 former students of Prof. Greiner hold chairs and professorships in theoretical physics world-wide.