TU Dresden & CSH External Faculty
Dirk Brockmann is director of the Center Synergy of Systems (SynoSys) at TUD Dresden University of Technology and professor at the Departments of Biology and Physics there. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Göttingen, Germany where he received his PhD in theoretical physics.
Before becoming founding director of SynoSys he was professor at the Departments of Biology and Physics at Humboldt University of Berlin and led a research team at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany’s national public health institute. Between 2008 and 2013 he was professor at the Department of Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University and faculty member of the Northwestern University Institute on Complex Systems.
Dirk has worked on various topics, ranging from computational neuroscience and anomalous diffusion in biological and physical systems to infectious disease dynamics, human mobility, network theory and citizen science.
He pioneered the analysis of mass data obtained in natural experiments and understanding human behavior based on data collected by digital devices. During the COVID-19 pandemic he launched the German data Donation Project, in which more than 500,000 donors provided data collected on their smart-watches and wearable devices on a daily basis for more than 2,5 years, the largest dataset of this kind in public hands.
Dirk believes in the value of anti-disciplinary science, the intentional breach of traditional scientific boundaries and is particularly interested in bridging the gap between biological and social sciences and the philosophy of complexity science.
In 2017 Dirk launched the Complexity Explorables (www.complexity-explorables.org), a collection of web-based interactive models of famous and less famous complex systems to illustrate the beauty of complex dynamical phenomena and teach young students about these systems.
Currently, Dirk is most interested in the design of citizen science projects, in which the general public can participate in scientific endeavours via digital tools and technologies. He is also interested in the emergence of cooperation, mutualism and fungi.
Dirk’s work has been covered extensively by the media and the press, e.g. the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, various TV shows in the United States, Europe and Germany. During the pandemic he was a regular expert guest in numerous TV talk shows and the main German TV news shows.