Starting in 1949, he studied mathematics, physics, and philosophy at the Georg-August-University at Göttingen, where he received his doctorate in 1954.
Until 1956 he worked in the Mathematical Research Institute of Oberwolfach. In 1958 he became a lecturer at the Technical University of Munich, where he obtained his Habilitation. In 1958 he moved to the Technical University of Darmstadt, where in 1962 he became a professor, and remained until his retirement.
From 1976 to 1984 he was a visiting professor at Caltech.