After receiving his habilitation in 1977, he first taught as private docent in Bonn before obtaining a professorship for mathematics at the University of Bremen.
In 1986 Peitgen and Peter Richter published their lavishly illustrated and very influential book The Beauty of Fractals, which was amongst the first books popularizing the concept of fractals to the general public. This book was followed up in 1988 by The Science of Fractal Images and in 1992 by a large and authoritative volume entitled Chaos and Fractals: New Frontiers of Science, written in collaboration with Hartmut Jürgens and Dietmar Saupe.
Peitgen is director of the Centre for Complex Systems and Visualization (Centrum für Complexe Systeme und Visualisierung - CeVis) at the University of Bremen. His research work emphasises dynamical systems, numerical analysis, image analysis, and data analysis, as well as the use of computers in image-based medical diagnostics.
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