In publica commoda

Professor Metin Tolan

Professor Metin Tolan has been the President of the University of Göttingen since April 2021. Previously, the physicist was a professor at the Technical University of Dortmund (TU) from 2001 and a member of the TU's Rectorate from 2008 to 2020. In addition, he was ongoing representative of the Rector from 2016. In the rectorate, he was responsible for Research for three years, Teaching for five years and Finance for four years.

Presidential Office and Executive Assistant

Katina Schmeißer
Office of the President

Phone +49 551 39-21001
Fax +49 551 39-21046

Rita Kohlstedde
Office of the President

Phone +49 551 39-21003
Fax +49 551 39-21046

Katja Kirschke
Personal Executive Assistant to the President

(currently on maternity leave)

Dr. Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub
Personal Executive Assistant to the President (interim)

Phone +49 551 39-21005
Fax +49 551 39-21046

Saturday discussions

I would like to improve communication and talk about issues more directly than before. My diary is always very busy during the week. That's why I would like to speak with you directly at the weekend. I have been keeping a time slot from 14:00-15:00 every Saturday since 2022 for this and would be delighted if we could have 15-minute conversations here – regardless of whether you belong to the University or not and whatever the topic, as long as it is connected with our University. I'm sure there are many things that bother you or that you think are good and that you've always wanted to discuss with the university management. Conversely, I am also interested in what you think about things at our University. Unfortunately, my view is often somewhat clouded by the fact that I have to operate at a distance from the day-to-day business. Our conversation will take place online and in private and will therefore be confidential. If you are interested, please contact my office ( and give a word or two to describe the main theme for our discussion during our 15 minutes. I would be very happy if we could enter into a direct dialogue in this way.

All the best,
Metin Tolan

01.04.2021 - 7 pm - Ceremonial inauguration

27.01.2021 - Election

Academic and professional career

Since April 2021 President of the University of Göttingen
2001 - 2021 C4 Professorship for Experimental Physics at the TU Dortmund University. Chair of Experimental Physics I
1998 - 2001 Habilitation in Experimental Physics. Lecturer at Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (Germany)
1994 - 1998 Research visits in the USA at Brookhaven National Laboratory (1994), Exxon Research Laboratories (1994), Stony Brook University, New York (1995 and 1998) and Argonne National Laboratory (1996 and 1997)
1993 - 1998 Postdoctoral researcher (Hochschulassistent) at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel.
1990 - 1993 Research Assistant, Institute for Experimental Physics, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. Doctorate in physics (dissertation subject: "X-ray scattering from laterally structured surfaces - experiment and theory")
1984 - 1989 Studied Physics with a subsidiary subject Mathematics, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel. Degree in Mathematical Physics

Awards, scholarships and memberships

2018 Awarded the Badge of Honour (Ehrennadel) from the German Physical Society
2017 Robert Wichard Pohl Prize from the German Physical Society for outstanding contributions to physics
2016 Science Communication Medal at the Göttinger Literaturherbst (Göttingen’s annual autumn literature festival)
2013 Communicator Award from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Stifterverband
2010 Awarded the Silver Badge of Honour for special services to the research centre DESY in Hamburg
2010 Elected Professor of the Year by the magazine UNICUM Beruf in the category of natural sciences and medicine (selected from 600 nominations across four fields)
2008 Awarded the teaching prize of the TU Dortmund
2000 First on the short-list for a chair (C4) in Experimental Physics at the Free University of Berlin in conjunction with a departmental chair at the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin (turned down because, in parallel, accepted the call to TU Dortmund)
2000 Call for a C3 Professorship for Experimental Physics at the University of Greifswald (turned down)
1999 Full Professorship for Materials Science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (turned down)
1993 Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, University Prize for the best dissertation

Management and committee responsibilities

2016 - 2020 Vice-Rector for Finance at TU Dortmund University
2014 - 2021 Member of the University Council of the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel
Since 2013 Member of the newly founded Scientific Advisory Board of Forschungszentrum Jülich
2011 - 2017 Member of the Science Advisory Board of the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) in Munich
2011 - 2016 Pro-rector for Teaching at TU Dortmund University
Since 2010 Member and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences - ISAS in Dortmund
2009 - 2010 Member of the German-Russian BMBF steering committee for cooperation on large-scale research facilities
2009 - 2010 Member of the Board of Trustees of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund
2008 - 2011 Vice-Rector for Research at TU Dortmund University
2008 - 2020 Member of the Rectorate of TU Dortmund University and standing representative of the Rector
2008 - 2014 Head of the BMBF Strategy Committee Research with Photons
2008 - 2013 Chair of the NRW Research Training Group Research with Synchrotron Radiation in the Nanosciences and Biosciences
2008 - 2012 Member of the steering committee and editor in charge of the BMBF-funded internet portal Welt der Physik (World of Physics)
2008 - 2012 Member of the Executive Board of the German Physical Society (DPG) with responsibility for public relations
2007 & 2013 Head of the Helmholtz Interim Review of the PNI Division at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geestacht (HZG)
2007 - 2016 Appointment as Vice-Chairman (until 2010) and as Chairman (from 2010) to the BMBF expert committee on collaborative research on large facilities
2006 - 2009 Member of the three-member board of the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences - ISAS in Dortmund
2005 - 2008 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of BESSY (2007-2008 Deputy Chairman of the Board)
2004 - 2010 Member of the Scientific Council of the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY). (2005-2007 Vice-Chairman and 2008-2010 Chairman of the Scientific Council and Guest of the Board of Directors of DESY.)
2004 - 2008 Dean of the Faculty of Physics at TU Dortmund University
2003 Full member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences (category: Natural Sciences and Medicine)
2001 - 2010
and 2013 – 2021
co-opted member of the Committee Research with Synchrotron Radiation as source representative
2001 - 2012 Head of the Centre for Synchrotron Radiation (ZfSy) at TU Dortmund University

Main research interests

  • Research into the interfacial behaviour of "soft matter" (polymers, liquids, biomaterials)
  • Use of synchrotron radiation for materials research in general

Scientific publications (selection)

2013 | Journal Article | Original Work
​ Microscopic structure of water at elevated pressures and temperatures
Sahle, C. J.; Sternemann, C.; Schmidt, C.; Lehtola, S.; Jahn, S.; Simonelli, L.& Huotari, S. u.a. (2013)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(16) pp. 6301-6306.​

2014 | Journal Article | Original Work
​ Reentrant liquid-liquid phase separation in protein solutions at elevated hydrostatic pressures
Möller, J.; Grobelny, S.; Schulze, J.; Bieder, S.; Steffen, A.; Erlkamp, M.& Paulus, M. u.a. (2014)
Physical Review Letters, 112(2) art. 028101.​

2017 | Journal Article | Original Work
​ The Hydrophobic Gap at High Hydrostatic Pressures
Wirkert, F. J; Hölzl, C.; Paulus, M.; Salmen, P.; Tolan, M.; Horinek, D.& Nase, J. (2017)
Angewandte Chemie. International Edition, 56(42) pp. 12958-12961.​

2018 | Journal Article | Original Work
​ Water-Mediated Protein-Protein Interactions at High Pressures are Controlled by a Deep-Sea Osmolyte
Julius, K.; Weine, J.; Berghaus, M.; König, N.; Gao, M.; Latarius, J.& Paulus, M. u.a. (2018)
Physical Review Letters, 121(3) art. 038101.​

2019 | Journal Article | Original Work
​ Impact of Macromolecular Crowding and Compression on Protein–Protein Interactions and Liquid–Liquid Phase Separation Phenomena
Julius, K.; Weine, J.; Gao, M.; Latarius, J.; Elbers, M.; Paulus, M.& Tolan, M. u.a. (2019)
Macromolecules, 52(4) pp. 1772-1784.​
Details DOI

The complete list of publications of the Tolan group can be found here: