Department of Physics



Dirk Witthaut

I studied physics in Kaiserslautern and received my PhD in 2007 with a thesis on the dynamics of Bose-Einstein condensates. After a period of teaching in Kigali, Rwanda, and research at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, I joined the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization in Goettingen. Since 2014 I am heading a research group at Forschungszentrum Juelich and I have been appointed Professor in Cologne in 2022.

Post Docs

Philipp Böttcher

I wrote my Bachelor's and Master's thesis in the complex systems lab of Stefan Bornholdt at the University of Bremen. In my Bachelor's thesis, I investigated the phase transition of a kinetic variant of the voter-model, which is a prototypical opinion formation model. My Master's thesis aimed at explaining the large price fluctuations seen for fuel prices using a trust game. Here, the effects of knowledge of the best price and spatial constraints were of special interest. From June 2016, I worked at the DLR - Institute of Networked Energy Systems in Oldenburg, where I investigated the stability of electricity grids in relation with delayed control. I joined the network science group in June of 2020. My current research focus is the stability of electricity grids and the analysis of power-system related data.

Doctoral Candidates

Chuck Han
Ph.D. candidate

I started my physics career at the University of Iowa, IA, USA. I received my bachelor degrees in applied mathematics and physics with a minor in chemistry from there in May 2014. I moved to Bonn to start my master study. I have been working with Jun.-Prof. Witthaut since the beginning of 2017. I finished my master thesis in July 2018 under the supervision of Jun.-Prof. Witthaut, with the title "Statistical Physics of Economic Network Formation and Robustness." Since February 2019, I returned to the group for my Ph.D. project. My current focus is on Econo-Physics, more specifically, using network theory to model and understand economic systems.
Johannes Kruse
Ph.D. candidate

I studied physics in Göttingen and obtained my Master's degree in February 2019. During the last year of my studies I stayed in Aarhus (Denmark), where I did my Master's thesis in Prof. Martin Greiner's research group. Since August 2019, I am a PhD student in FZ Jülich and a part of the Helmholtz School for Data Science in Life, Earth and Energy. My goal is to apply methods from Data Science to large, heterogeneous data sets from energy systems, such as high-resolution frequency measurements or long wind-power production time series.

GitHub profile:
Maurizio Titz
Ph.D. candidate

I am studying how line failures in statically n-1 stable power grids can lead to further transient failures. My goal is to predict these possible transient failures from the steady states using Machine Learning.

Master Candidates

Dorothea Kistinger
M.Sc. candidate

Finishing my master in Data Science at RWTH Aachen, I am associated with Prof. Witthaut‘s group for my master‘s thesis. At the interface of theoretical methods and sustainable developement, I apply techniques from explainable AI to explore regional differences of ownership of electric vehicles and installations of photovoltaic systems in Germany.
Carsten Hartmann
M.Sc. candidate

I study physics at the University of Cologne. In my Master thesis project, I investigate origins and drivers of patterns in power grid frequency time series.
Julius Trebbien
M.Sc. candidate

In 2017 I started studying physics in Cologne. In 2022 I joined the group to work on topics regarding the power grid frequency stability and electricity prices using data science and machine learning methods for my master thesis.
Sebastian Pütz
M.Sc. candidate

For my bachelor's thesis, I studied the simulation of quantum circuits in the quantum information science group of David Gross. I joined the network science group in November 2021 for my master's project, in which I aim to use machine learning and methods from data science to investigate power system operation.
Hannes Hilger
M.Sc. candidate


Bachelor Students

Uni-Koeln Network Science Group

Click on the individuals to see info.


  • Matthias Dahlmanns, Master student 2021 - 2022. Moved to Industry.
  • Franz Kaiser, Ph.D. student 2018 - 2021. Moved to Industry.
  • Raphael Biertz, Master student 2020 -2021. Moved to University of Exeter.
  • Galib Hassan, Master student 2020 - 2021.
  • Jonas Wassmer, Master student 2019 - 2020. Moved to PIK Potsdam.
  • Leonardo Rydin, Ph.D. student 2018 - 2020. Now Associate Professor at NMBU in Norway. Website.
  • Lucas Kiefer, Master student 2019 - 2020. Moved to Industry.
  • Hannes Hilger, Bachelor student 2020. Returned for his Master Thesis.
  • Eva Mix, Bachelor student 2020.
  • Ricarda Wesener, Bachelor student 2019 - 2020.
  • Charlotte Neubacher, Master student 2018 - 2019. Now a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich, IEK-8.
  • Julius Strake, Master student 2018 - 2019 and research assistant. Now a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich, IEK-10.
  • Chiara Balestra, Master student 2018 - 2019. Moved to TU Dortmund.
  • Jan Wohland, Ph.D. student 2016 - 2019. Now a PostDoc at ETH Zürich.
  • Felix Weidenmüller, Master student 2018 - 2019. Moved to Industry.
  • Konstantin Sharafutdinov, Master student 2016 - 2017. Moved to RWTH Aachen as a PhD student.
  • Juliane Weber, 2016 - 2018. Moved to Industry.