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Achim Richter (born September 21, 1940 in Dresden) is a German nuclear physicist. He has been a professor at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at the Darmstadt University of Technology since 1974.



Richter was born to builder Georg Edmund Richter and his wife Elsa (née Wenzel). He attended primary and secondary school in Dresden, graduating as dux of the school in 1958, with a university entrance diploma. After his application to study Physics at the technical university in Dresden was rejected five times on political and ideological grounds, he escaped from East Germany in 1959, via West Berlin.

In 1959 he started studying Physics at the University of Heidelberg, and was accepted as a member of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes in 1963. In 1965 he received graduated in Physics from the University of Heidelberg. In 1967 he was awarded a doctorate by professor Wolfgang Gentner at the Max-Planck-Institut of Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. From 1967 to 1968, he worked as a research associate in the physics deparmtent at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, in the United States. From 1969 to 1970 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the physics division of the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois.

In 1971 Richter became a research associate at the Max-Planck-Institut of nuclear physics in Heidelberg. After completing his post-doctoral qualification in physics at the University of Heidelberg, he became an associate professor there. From 1971 to 1973 Richter was a scientific advisor and professor at the Ruhr University Bochum. In 1974 he became director of the institute of nuclear physics of the Darmstadt University of Technology.

Richter is a member of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft and of the Deutschen Hochschulverband. At the end of 2005, the American Physical Society elected him as the first non-American to be senior editor of the Reviews of Modern Physics.

Richter has played the viola from childhood. He is married to Dr. Christine Monika.


Richter and his stuff members archived important research results with the development of the superconducting electron accelerators in Darmstadt S-DALINAC, which was the first accelerator of this kind in Europe, and furthermore the design and setup of the first free electron Laser (FEL) in Germany.

He is regarded as the discoverer of the scissors mode in heavy deformed atmomic nuclei (1984). His scientific working fields cover a broad spectra in the areas of Nuclear Physics, Atomic physics, Radiation Physics, Accelerator Physics and of nonlinear dynamic systems. There are researches about symmetries and conservation laws in light nuclei and about phenomena of fluctuations in nuclear reactions, experiments for the electromagnetic excitements of nuclei with photons, electrons and hadrons as well as works on the area of channeling radiation, non-linear dynamics and quantum chaos.


Richter won numerous honors and recognitions:

  • 1964 Universitätspreis for Physics
  • 1988 German-french Alexander-von-Humboldt-Preis
  • 1990 Correspondent member of the Royal Society of South Africa
  • 1992 Max-Planck-Forschungspreis
  • 1995 Honorary doctorate of Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg/Sweden
  • 1996 Honorary doctorate of Ghent University/Belgien
  • 1996 Correspondent member of the Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • 2000 Honorary doctorate of University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg/South Africa
  • 2000 Honorary doctorate of Kharkov National University/Ukraine
  • 2001 Stern-Gerlach-Medaille of Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft
  • 2002 Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2005 Correspondend member of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Göteborg/Sweden
  • 2006 Tage Erlander Professur of the Swedish Research Councils

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