What events shaped your life, both professionally and privately?
That's a difficult question, of course. To begin with: What has shaped me most is that I met my wife in 1957 and have lived with her for 65 years; that my two sons and one granddaughter and four grandsons were born. That I spent 42 of my 86 years in Palatinate, 30 years in Bavaria and 14 years near Aachen, with about a fifth of the 42 Palatinate years spent abroad.
But three special experiences were also formative:
First, the end of the war, the total destruction of the house in which I lived with my mother, being dug out after two hours. Then the late homecoming of my father as a rather passive, but nevertheless long-standing party member. And the growing awareness that Germany had incurred a great debt, so that I saw an improvement of the German reputation as a life task.
Second, my apprenticeship as a scientist at the Jülich Research Center. I had studied »very pure mathematics« in Munich and was plunged headlong into mathematical physics at Jülich. There I realized how important this »applied mathematics« is also for modern technologies. It also became clear to me that the classical university education in mathematics does not focus on this important aspect of »mathematics as technology«. If I were ever to return to a university, I wanted to do better – and that's what I then really tried to do in Kaiserslautern.