Burkhard Heim

Burkhard Heim bigraphy, stories - Physicists

Burkhard Heim : biography

February 9, 1925 – January 14, 2001

Burkhard Heim (February 9, 1925 – January 14, 2001) was a German theoretical physicist. He devoted a large portion of his life to the pursuit of his unified field theory, Heim theory.v. Ludwiger, L. (2001, January 28). Zum Tode des Physikers Burkhard Heim. Feldkirchen-Westerham. One of his childhood ambitions was to develop a method of space travel, which contributed to his motivation to find such a theory.Lietz, H. (2006, January, 5). Take a leap into hyperspace. New Scientist, 189(2533),


During World War II, Heim was conscripted into the air force. However, a previous essay about explosives led to his working briefly in a chemical laboratory as an explosives technician, instead. An explosion in the laboratory caused by the mishandling of unstable compounds left him with debilitating handicaps. The accident left him without hands and mostly deaf and blind when he was 19, forcing him to use Krukenberg hands. His behavior subsequently became progressively eccentric and reclusive. Eventually, he retreated into almost total seclusion, concentrating on developing and refining his theory of everything. His disabilities and brilliance have led Illobrand von Ludwiger, a physicist and pioneer in satellite control systems, to dub him "the German Hawking".

Heim theory and the physics community

Heim achieved some media renown in the 1950s and 1960s, but his ideas have never been well-accepted in the physics community. A significant portion of Heim’s work has not been published in rigorously peer reviewed journals. Heim’s theory also predicts the existence of two hypothetical neutrinos, which have been shown not to exist by experiments at the Large Electron–Positron Collider.

Life and health

Heim had to undergo a series of at least 50 operations after a laboratory explosion resulted in the loss of his arms. He found that intense concentration on the study of Einstein’s relativity theory helped him control the pain in his arms mentally and physically.

The loss of his hands and serious diminution of his eyesight apparently resulted in Heim acquiring an eidetic, acoustic memory. He was claimed to rarely forget a formula if he heard it recited, and was said to be able to learn a language in a matter of days. He married a former concert singer from Prague in 1950 named Gerda.

Heim and Cocteau

Jean Cocteau created a drawing with Einstein, Newton and Copernicus under the mystic "Eye of Heim".(reproduced as Figure 2 in "Das Neue Weltbild des Physikers Burkhard Heim" – Von Ludwiger, 2006 )

Academic and work history

A large proportion of the 76 years of Heim’s life was spent on theoretical physics and the formulation of his Heim theory.


In 1943 he met Heisenberg who was involved in German atom bomb research at that time and told him of his plan to use chemical implosion to facilitate an atomic explosion. This design was based on his idea he developed for a ‘clean’ hydrogen bomb when he was 18. Heisenberg was impressed by Heim’s knowledge, but thought the approach would be impractical.

At that point Heim had to do military service in the German air force. He sent a paper on explosives to the Chemical-Technical ‘Reichsanstalt’ in Berlin, whereupon he was summoned to work there on the development of the proposed new explosives. It was here that he met with the accident that handicapped him for life.

In 1946, Heim registered at the University of Göttingen to study physics. He fulfilled his academic degree requirements with the help of companions. Afterwards, he continued to study a variety of topics including medicine, psychology, electronics, history and theology.


In 1952, during the third congressional session of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Stuttgart, Germany, Burkhard Heim presented his theory for interplanetary propulsion under the title of “Die dynamische Kontrabarie als Lösung des astronautischen Problems” (The Dynamic Kontrabarie as solution of the Astronautical Problem).Weyl, A. R. (1957, October). ‘Anti-gravity’. Aeronautics, 37(2), 80–86. (British Aviation Publications). It was the first time the idea of gravitational, electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces were treated as distortions of their proper Euclidean metrics in a higher dimensional space.Dröscher, W., & Häuser, J. (2002, July). Physical principles of advanced space propulsion based on Heim’s field theory (AIAA 2002–4094). Paper presented at the meeting of the 38th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, Indianapolis, Indiana. According to Weyl, a brief description of Heim’s lecture was recorded in the proceedings of the Society for Space Research.Weyl, A. R. (1959, January). "Knowledge and possibilities of gravity research" (DTIC No. AD-0830247). W. R. Eichler (Trans.) Weltraumfahrt; Zeitschrift für Rakententechnik, 9, 100–106 (original work published December 1958).Weyl, A. R. (1959, February). "Gravity and the prospects for astronautics." Aeronautics, 59(6), 16–22. (British Aviation Publications).