Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

Welcome to the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

What we want
No matter how well we understand how a single droplet of water is formed in the laboratory, we cannot predict how countless droplets form clouds that substantially affect the Earth’s climate. And although we can accurately characterize a single neuron’s impulse, we do not yet understand how billions of them form a single thought. In such systems, animate or inanimate, processes of self-organization are at work: Many interacting parts organize themselves independently, without external control, into a complex whole. At our institute we explore the mechanisms underlying these processes in order to gain a detailed understanding of complex systems. Also the major challenges of the 21st century, from climate change and economic crises to problems in energy supply and transport, are closely linked to these scientific questions. Without a deep understanding of dynamics and self-organization in complex and highly networked systems we cannot face these challenges. With our basic research not only do we want to deepen our understanding of nature, but also want to contribute to a sustainable existence on this planet.


It's all in the mixing

It's all in the mixing

May 12, 2022
A group of scientists led by Nate Cira of Harvard and Cornell University and Stefan Karpitschka of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization has discovered that some liquid droplets first spread out on surfaces and then contract again on their own. This boomerang effect depends on the composition of the droplets. Since these leave virtually no traces when they contract, unlike conventional drying, this opens up new possibilities for cleaning and removing particles from sensitive surfaces such as microchips.
Wool balls in the wind: The geometry of turbulent mixing

Wool balls in the wind: The geometry of turbulent mixing

April 26, 2022
Anyone who regularly stirs their coffee knows about the advantages of turbulent mixing: the movement of the spoon creates a turbulent flow that can distribute the milk very quickly and evenly in the cup. Moreover, turbulent mixing is also responsible for the distribution of gasoline in the engine cylinder or of dust particles in the atmosphere. The research group led by Prof. Michael Wilczek at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the University of Bayreuth has now succeeded in better understanding the geometry of turbulent mixing; their results were recently published in Nature Communications.

Research Departments

Fluid Physics, Pattern Formation and Biocomplexity(Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Eberhard Bodenschatz)

Fluid Physics, Pattern Formation and Biocomplexity
(Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Eberhard Bodenschatz)

We are investigating the dynamics of a variety of complex nonlinear systems both experimentally and theoretically. Our interests are currently focused on biocomplexity in cell-biology, Lagrangian properties of fully developed turbulence, pattern formation and spatio-temporal chaos, and the Geodynamics of the earth's crust.
Dynamics of Complex Fluids (Prof. Dr. Stephan Herminghaus)

Dynamics of Complex Fluids 
(Prof. Dr. Stephan Herminghaus)

A complex fluid consists of (a large number of) similar mobile entities which are complex enough by themselves to preclude a straightforward prediction of the collective behaviour of the whole. Our research aims at understanding emergent phenomena in complex fluids, in particular in active fluids. We hope to identify suitable model systems which yield insight into overarching principles of self-organization in systems as diverse as granular flows, swarming of plankton particles, or patterns in traffic flow. One challenging question is: are there general common ‘principles’ behind the various instances of symmetry breaking, structure formation, and emergence in open systems? How does nature proceed from ‘being’ to ‘becoming’?
Living Matter Physics(Prof. Dr. Ramin Golestanian)

Living Matter Physics
(Prof. Dr. Ramin Golestanian)

Since March 2018, Prof. Ramin Golestanian from Oxford University is a new director heading the department ‘Living Matter Physics’. The department is engaged in a wide range of theoretical research aimed at a multi-scale understanding of the dynamics of living systems from a physical perspective. 

Max Planck Research Groups

Neural Systems Theory
Dr. Viola Priesemann

Biomedical Physics
Prof. Dr. Stefan Luther

Statistical physics of evolving systems
Dr. Armita Nourmohammad
Theory of Biological Fluids
Dr. David Zwicker

In a nutshell


LMP Seminar: Dynamical Renormalization Group approach to the collective behavior of natural swarms

Dr. Giulia Pisegna
07.06.2022 14:00 - 15:30
Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS), Room: Video conference at www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 997 1155 2453 Passcode: 771001

MPIDS Colloquium: On the emergence of infectious diseases with climate change

Prof. Dr. Joacim Rocklöv
15.06.2022 14:15 - 15:15
Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS), Room: Video conference at www.zoom.us, meeting ID: 959 2774 3389, passcode: 651129
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