F. Paul Spitzner

Profile Picture

I’m a scientist with a passion for way too many things — some of which you can find out about here.


Two of the things that have fascinated me since the first days of my physics studies are phase transitions and complex systems. As it turns out, we carry ~1.3kg of a pretty complex system around in our heads (pun intended), which, presumably, operates near a non-equilibrium phase transition. What other motivation could a physicist need to move into neuroscience?

Currently, I find this motivation in "self-organization". We say self-organization whenever something interesting happens on a large scale due to mechanisms that take place on a smaller scale — but we do not quite understand how. Concerning the mentioned complex system, we are particularly interested in the dynamics; we know about the small-scale dynamics (individual neurons communicate with each other by emitting action potentials) and the large-scale dynamics (the combined population of neurons shows rich dynamic states).

I find it most intriguing how the dynamics on these two scales depend on the topology of the network and, at the same time, change this very topology through plasticity. Hence, these are the main questions I want to investigate during my PhD in Viola Priesemann’s group, but I am involved in a few (un-) related research projects.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany, the focus in our group has shifted a bit; we have spent a lot of time evaluating the effectiveness of political interventions and provided forecast-scenarios on how case numbers could develop. To that end, we used Bayesian Inference with MCMC sampling on SIR-models. Check out the full article for all the details!

… and the rest

Coffee-addict, Coffee-lover, Artist and Tinkerer

Somewhere down the line of my studies I realized that I love to code and to tinker with tech — sometimes more than doing the actual research. I also love to write and to create figures that make people understand all the crazy things we come up with. What’s it all about if not to make science accessible to everyone?

In my spare time, I take photos, do Artwork, design websites or get lost in DIY projects and macOS (long-time fan-boy who became increasingly sceptical. Tim, if you are reading this, give me a call!).