Prof. Dr. J. Leo van Hemmen


Theoretical Biophysics (T35)
Professor emeritus since October 1, 2015



Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. van Hemmen’s (b. 1947) research explores cellular theoretical biophysics. He is interested in both theoretical membrane physics and neural information processing of various sensory organs. He investigates mechanosensing – the sonic ranging of the barn owl, the location of aquatic objects through the lateral-line organs of the clawed frog and fish, infrared vision in certain snakes and their multimodal integration.

Prof. van Hemmen studied physics and mathematics at the University of Groningen (NL), and completed his doctorate there in 1976. Following a year of postdoctoral research at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in Bures-sur-Yvette near Paris, he spent a further year as assistant professor at Duke University (Durham, NC). After that, he joined Collaborative Research Center 123 (Stochastic Mathematical Models) in Heidelberg, where he qualified as a physics lecturer in 1983. Prof. van Hemmen has been lecturing in cellular theoretical biophysics, in particular neuronal information processing, at TUM since 1990. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

    van Hemmen JL, Schwartz AB: “Population vector code: a geometric universal as actuator”. Biol. Cybern. 2008; 98(6): 509-518.


    Friedel P, Young BA, van Hemmen JL: “Auditory Localization of Ground-Borne Vibrations in Snakes”. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2008; 100(4): 48701- 49705.


    van Hemmen JL, Sejnowski TJ:  23 Problems in Systems Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.


    Sichert AB, Friedel P, van Hemmen JL: “Snake’s Perspective on Heat: Reconstruction of Input Using an Imperfect Detection System Phys”. Rev. Lett. 2006; 97: 068105-068109.


    Kempter R, Gerstner W, van Hemmen JL, Wagner H: „A neuronal learning rule for sub-millisecond temporal coding”.  Nature. 1996; 383: 76-78.