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 Institute for Mechanics and Computational Mechanics

Startpage > InstituteThe Team > Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr. h.c. mult. Erwin Stein

Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr. h.c. mult. Erwin Stein

Address: Institut für Baumechanik
und Numerische Mechanik
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Appelstraße 9a
30167 Hannover
Room: Mehrzweckgebäude (3408) - MZ 127
Phone: +49 511.762-4290
Fax: +49 511.762-19053
Consultation: by arrangement

Scientific activities

  • Senior-Editor of the „Encyclopedia of Computational Mechanics“ by Wiley in 2004, 1st electronically revised edition 2007
  • Coeditor and Member of the Advisory Board of 8 national and international journals
  • 54 research projects from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - German Research Foundation -, including Priority Programs, Special Research Units and as member of several Collaborative Research Centres
  • Four research projects from Volkswagenstiftung Hannover together with mathematicians and physicists
  • Several industrial research projects
  • Organisation and proceedings (books) of 6 conferences „Finite Elemente in der Baustatik/Baupraxis“ together with W. Wunderlich, E. Ramm, P. Wriggers, edited by Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, since 1970
  • Conference chair of the annual GAMM-Conference 1990 at the University of Hannover
  • Organisation of two CISM Courses on Computational Mechanics, especially error analysis and adaptivity
  • Co-chairman of two IUTAM-Symposia, together with D. Besdo and O. T. Bruhns
  • 57 PhD theses as primal reviewer and 40 PhD theses as secondary reviewer,
  • Primal reviewer of 10 habilitation theses of former scientific collaborators
  • 11 Leibniz-Exhibitions „G. W. Leibniz als Philosoph, Mathematiker, Physiker, Techniker, …“ in Hannover as well as in German cities and abroad, since 1990.
  • Permanent Leibniz-Exhibition at the Leibniz Universität Hannover since 2008, enhanced in 2011
  • Special lectures on the annual "Leibniz-day", his birthday on 01 July at the Leibniz Universität Hannover.
  • About 15 plenary lectures at international congresses and conferences, especially on computational mechanics


philosophy (especially of G. W. Leibniz), wine, fishing

Current Research

  • Multi-scale theory and finite element analysis of beginning micro-cracks and propagating macro-cracks in brittle elastic materials, especially ceramics, with error-controlled model- and discretization adaptivity (verification and validation) (DFG-Project)
  • Non-linear theory and adaptive FEM for martensitic phase transformation of mono- and poly-crystalline shape memory alloys with technical applications (further research on a completed DFG-Project)
  • Derivation of a new explicit residual error estimator for elliptic PDEs with strict upper bounds and good effectivity indices
  • Investigation of Leibniz' inventions and developments in mathematics, natural science and engineering, especially the Leibniz Calculation Machines, by reconstructions and functional models supported by mathematical models and Pareto-optimal solutions for the design parameters, especially for the gear kinematics of calculating machines
  • Further development of the Leibniz Exhibition of the Leibniz University: "G. W. Leibniz, far ahead of his time, as philosopher, mathematician, physicist and technician"

Curriculum Vitae


Born in Altendiez near Diez/Lahn, Middle-Rhine Area, Germany
Son of banker Karl Stein and his wife Emma, née Mäncher

1937 – 1941

Primary school Altendiez

1941 – 1951

Gymnasium (secondary school) Limburg/Lahn with an interruption after World War II, and graduation Abitur (university-entrance diploma)

1951 – 1958

Civil Engineering and Mathematics studies at the Polytechnical University of Darmstadt


Marriage with Gisela Nink


Birth of daughter Ulrike


Birth of daughter Annelie

1956 – 1957

Structural analysis of several complex engineering structures


Graduation to Dipl.-Ing including mathematical subjects
Structural Engineer at the Engineering Consulting Company Dr.-Ing. H. Homberg in Hagen, Germany
Structural analysis of two large bridges: a composite steel-prestressed-concrete construction and a prestressed concrete highway bridge

1959 – 1965

Scientific assistant at the chair for "Structural Mechanics and Theory of Elasticity" (Professor F.W. Bornscheuer), University of Stuttgart, Germany


Graduation to Dr.-Ing. with summa cum laude Dr.-Ing. thesis: “Trefftz-method for beams, plates and shells”


Birth of son Matthias

1965 – 1969

Chief engineer at the same chair in Stuttgart


Habilitation and venia legendi for Structural and Solid Mechanics at the University of Stuttgart 
Professorial dissertation: “Coupling of FEM and extended Trefftz method for plates and shells with boundary layers”

1969 – 1971

Speaker (director) of the Special Research Project (SFB) 64 of the German Research Foundation (DFG): "Light-weighted suspended structures" at the University of Stuttgart

1971 – 1998

Full professor and chairholder for Structural Mechanics, since 1978 also for Computational Mechanics, and director of the same institute at the University of Hannover, Germany

1972 – 1976

Chairman of the Senate Commission for Electronic

Computing and Electronic Computers, University of Hannover

1972 – 1999

Structural Safety and Inspection Engineer (Prüfingenieur für Baustatik) in the Federal State of Lower-Saxony, Germany


Renaming of the Chair of Structural Mechanics to Institute for Structural and Computational Mechanics, director of this institute until 1998

1978 – 1981

Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, University of Hannover

1981 – 1989

Initiator and speaker of the Federal DFG Priority Program "Non-linear Computations in Structural Engineering"

Since 1982

Regular member of the Brunswik Scientific Society (Braunschweigische Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft), Braunschweig, Germany

1982 – 1985

Initiator and head of the Scientific GAMM Committee "Discretization Methods in Solid Mechanics" with the main goal: interaction of mathematics and mechanics in computational mechanics


Founding member of the German scientific working group "Computer Science in Civil Engineering" for establishing this as a new subject in Civil Engineering curricula

1985 – 2004

Founding member of IACM (International Association for Computational Mechanics) and member of the General Council

1985 – 2004

Co-editor of the journal "Bauingenieur" (Civil Engineering), responsible for structural and computational mechanics and for computer science


Research stay at the University of Maryland at College Park (with Prof. I. Babuska) and at the University of California at Berkeley (with Prof. R. L. Taylor)

1987 – 1997

Member of DEKOMECH (Deutsches Komitee für Mechanik, German Committee of Mechanics), representing the German community of mechanicians

Since 1988

Regular member of ISIMM (International Society for the Interaction of Mathematics and Mechanics)

1989 – 1995

Regular member of the Advisory Board of GAMM (Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik)

Since 1989

Regular member of the International Leibniz Society, Hannover

Since 1989

Co-editor of the “Communications of GAMM”

Since 1989-94

Member of the Editorial Boards of Int. J. Num. Mech. Engg., Int. J. Computers & Structures, Int. J. Comput. Mech., ZAMM, Int. J. Plasticity, Int. J. Comput. Meth. Appl. Mech. Engg., Int. J. Engg. Computations


Organizer of the annual GAMM conference at the University of Hannover together with the 1st Leibniz Exhibition with new functional models, esp. of calculating machines, and a related Leibniz symposium


Further Leibniz exhibitions in Bonn and Minden, Germany


Founding member and vice chairman of GACM (German Association for Computational Mechanics)

1990 – 1996

Secretary of DEKOMECH

1990 – 1996

Initiator and head of the DFG Research Unit at the University of Hannover "Reliability of Modeling and Computation in Applied Mechanics" with 3 own projects

1990 – 2004

Member of the ECCOMAS Assembly (ECCOMAS: European Community for Computational Methods in Applied Science)

1992 – 1999

Initiator and speaker of the nationwide DFG research project: "Adaptive Finite Element Methods in Applied Mechanics" with 4 mathematicians and 4 mechanicians

Since 1992

Member of the Leibniz Gesellschaft, Hannover


Max Planck Research Award, together with Professor Piotr Perzyna, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, dedicated by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the Max Planck Society


Honorable Doctor of Science (Dr.Sc.h.c.) of the National Polytechnical University of St. Petersburg, Russia

1994 – 2002

Corresponding member of the Executive Board of IACM

Since 1994

Guest professor at the China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou


Honorable Doctor (Dr.-Ing. E.h.) of the University of Stuttgart, Germany


Honorable Doctor (Dr. h.c.) of the China University of Mining and Technology at Xuzhou and Beijing, China

Since 1995

Corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Vienna, in the class of Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Congress Medal of ISCES (International Society for Computational Engineering Science)

1996 – 2000

Member of the Steering Committee for the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg by appointment of the DFG (German Research Foundation)

1996 – 2003

Member of the General Assembly of ECCOMAS


Honorable Doctor (Dr. h.c.) of the Polytechnical University of Poznan, Poland

1997 – 2002

Chairman (president) of DEKOMECH

1997 – 2002

Chairman of the Class of Engineering Sciences within the Brunswick Scientific Society, Braunschweig

1997 – 2004

Chairman (president) of ECCM (European Council for Computational Mechanics) within ECCOMAS with 11 member associations, representing 23 European countries


Gauß-Newton Medal (Congress Medal) of IACM (its highest award)


Fellow of IACM (interational association for computational mechanics)

Since 1999

Corresponding member of the Slovak Academy of Engineering Science


Leibniz Exhibition "Leibniz - Philosopher, Mathematician, Physicist and Engineer ..." in German and English at the University of Hannover on the occasion of the World Exhibition (EXPO 2000) in Hannover


Leibniz Exhibition in the Orangerie of the Hessian State Museum in Kassel, Germany


Leibniz Exhibition at the Polytechnical University of Berlin on the occasion of the 7. International Leibniz Congress

Since 2001

"Erwin Stein Award of Computational Mechanics" for young European scientists


Leibniz Exhibition at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, on the occasion of the 5th World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM V) of IACM

Since 2002

Honorary member of the Executive Board of IACM

Since 2002

Honorary chairman of GACM


Leibniz Exhibition in Altdorf near Nuremberg, Germany


Von Kaven Award” for Mathematics (esp. Instrumental Mathematics) by the German Science Foundation (DFG)


Leibniz Exhibition in Hannover with newly designed and constructed functional models of Leibniz’ calculating machines on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the University of Hannover

Since 2006

Honorary chairman of the European Commitee for Computational Solid & Structural Mechanics (ECCSM) in ECCOMAS


Leibniz Exhibition in Wolfenbüttel, Germany


Permanent Leibniz Exhibition at the Leibniz Universität Hannover with another new gear-based binary four-function calculating machine in the spirit of Leibniz




O.C. Zienkiewicz Medal of the Polish Association for Computational Mechanics (PACM)


Honorary member of GAMM


Leibniz exhibition in the "Heiliggeistkirche" (cathedral) of Heidelberg on the occation of 625th foundation jubilee of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Extention of the permanent Leibniz exhibition with human, social and economical sciences in the second glass pavillion in the Guelf Castle (the main building of the Leibniz University Hannover)


Curator of the Leibniz exhibition


Bestowal with the first class cross of merit of the Lower Saxony order of merits, appreciating special merits in science and research as well as the merits for the interlectual inheritance of G. W. Leibniz


Ritz-Galerkin Medal of ECCOMAS (highest award, bestowed every four years)

Festschriften and Appraisals

  • G.A. Maugin, Continuum Mechanics Through the Twentieth Century, Solid Mechanics and Its Application, Vol. 196, Springer (2013), Erwin Stein and TU Hannover, p. 130-131
  • Jan Gehlsen, Mechanik und Metamechanik, AlumniCampus visiting Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. Erwin Stein, in the journal AlumniCampus of the Leibniz Universität Hannover, Edition 6, (June 2011)
  • R. Mahnken (ed.), Theoretische und numerische Methoden in der angewandten Mechanik mit Praxisbeispielen, Festschrift on the occasion of the retirement of Prof. Erwin Stein, published as research report F 98/4 of the Institut für Baumechanik und Numerische Mechanik, Universität Hannover (1998)
  • P. Wriggers, and W. Wagner (eds.), Nonlinear computational mechanics, State of the art, Springer (1991)


Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr. h.c. mult. Erwin Stein