Prof. Dr. (em.) Werner Müller

E-mail: mueller(at)
Phone: +49 228 73 2840
Room: 1.035
Location: Mathematics Center
Institute: Mathematical Institute
Research Area: Research Area A3

Academic Career


PhD, HU Berlin

1977 - 1986

Research Scholar, Academy of Sciences of GDR, Berlin

1987 - 1989

Professor, Academy of Sciences of GDR, Berlin

1989 - 1990

Member, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, USA

1990 - 1993

Member, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Bonn

1993 - 2016

Professor (C4), University of Bonn

Since 2016

Professor Emeritus

Research Profile

My main interest is in global analysis and the theory of automorphic forms. Global analysis is concerned with the study of geometric differential operators on manifolds. The investigation of solutions of partial differential equations of geometric origin is the source of important connections between geometry, topology and analysis. I am especially interested in harmonic analysis on locally symmetric spaces and the theory of automorphic forms. The Arthur-Selberg trace formula is one of the most important tools in the theory of automorphic forms.

In joint work with T. Finis and E. Lapid I have used the trace formula to study the asymptotic distribution of automorphic forms for GL(n). This includes the Weyl law and the limit multiplicity problem. A crucial input is the refined spectral side of the trace formula, which was established in joint work with T. Finis and E. Lapid. A very challenging problem is to extend these results to other classical groups. Among other things, this requires detailed knowledge of the analytic properties of the L-functions occurring on the spectral side of the trace formula. To this end one can use Arthur's work on the endoscopic classification of automorphic representations of symplectic and orthogonal groups to relate the L-functions to L-functions for GL(n).

Another key topic of my research in recent years has been the study of analytic torsion of compact locally symmetric manifolds. Analytic torsion is a sophisticated spectral invariant of a compact Riemannian manifold and a flat bundle over this manifold. A basic problem is the approximation of L^2-torsion by the analytic torsion of finite coverings in a tower. This is a special case of the kind of problems studied to a great extent by W. Lück. Bergeron and Venkatesh used this to study the torsion in the cohomology of co-compact arithmetic groups if the level is increased. J. Pfaff and I studied the same problem if the arithmetic group is fixed and the local system varies.

Many arithmetic groups are not co-compact and the long-term goal is to extend these results to the finite volume case. The main tool is again the trace formula. Its application leads to problems related to the refined spectral side and the study of weighted orbital integrals, which appear on the geometric side of the trace formula.

Research Projects and Activities

DFG Priority Programme SPP 1154 “Global Differential Geometry”
Project leader

DFG Collaborative Research Center SFB 611 “Singular phenomena and scaling in mathematical models”
Project leader

GIF Research Project “Analytic aspects of automorphic forms and the trace formula”
Project leader, 2004 - 2008

GIF Research Project “Spectral methods in automorphic forms”
Project leader, 2008 - 2011

Research Areas A and D, DFG Cluster of Excellence “Hausdorff Center for Mathematics”
Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

[1] Tobias Finis, Erez Lapid, Werner Müller
Limit multiplicities for principal congruence subgroups of $GL(n)$ and $SL(n)$
J. Inst. Math. Jussieu , 14: (3): 589--638
DOI: 10.1017/S1474748014000103
[2] Werner Müller, Jonathan Pfaff
On the growth of torsion in the cohomology of arithmetic groups
Math. Ann. , 359: (1-2): 537--555
DOI: 10.1007/s00208-014-1014-x
[3] Werner Müller, Jonathan Pfaff
Analytic torsion and L2-torsion of compact locally symmetric manifolds
J. Differential Geom. , 95: (1): 71--119
File: http://
[4] Simon Marshall, Werner Müller
On the torsion in the cohomology of arithmetic hyperbolic 3-manifolds
Duke Math. J. , 162: (5): 863--888
DOI: 10.1215/00127094-2080850
[5] Tobias Finis, Erez Lapid, Werner Müller
On the spectral side of Arthur's trace formula---absolute convergence
Ann. of Math. (2) , 174: (1): 173--195
DOI: 10.4007/annals.2011.174.1.5
[6] Erez Lapid, Werner Müller
Spectral asymptotics for arithmetic quotients of $SL(n,\Bbb {R})/SO(n)$
Duke Math. J. , 149: (1): 117--155
DOI: 10.1215/00127094-2009-037
[7] Werner Müller
Weyl's law for the cuspidal spectrum of $SL_n$
Ann. of Math. (2) , 165: (1): 275--333
DOI: 10.4007/annals.2007.165.275
[8] Werner Müller
Analytic torsion and R-torsion for unimodular representations
J. Amer. Math. Soc. , 6: (3): 721--753
DOI: 10.2307/2152781
[9] Werner Müller
The trace class conjecture in the theory of automorphic forms
Ann. of Math. (2) , 130: (3): 473--529
DOI: 10.2307/1971453
[11] Jasmin Matz, Werner Müller
Analytic torsion of arithmetic quotients of the symmetric space $\mathrm{SL}(n,\mathbb{R})/\mathrm{SO}(n)$
arXiv: 1607:04676, to appear in GAFA
[12] Jasmin Matz, Werner Müller
Approximation of $L^2$-analytic torsion for arithmetic quotients of the symmetric space $\mathrm{SL}(n,\mathbb{R})/\mathrm{SO(n)}$
arXiv: 1709:07764

Publication List

MathSciNet Publication List (external link)

ArXiv Preprint List (external link)


• Mathematische Nachrichten (1990 - 2005)
• Inventiones Mathematicae (1991 - 2007)
• Compositio Mathematicae (1993 - 1998)
• Intern. Math. Research Notices (1993 - 1998)
• Analysis & PDE (since 2008)



Euler-Medal, Academy of Sciences of GDR


Max Planck Research Award (together with J. Cheeger, Courant Institute)


Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities


Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina


Member of the Academia Europaea

Selected Invited Lectures


ICM, invited speaker, Warsaw, Poland


Taneguichi Symposium, Japan


ECM, invited speaker, Paris, France


Conference in honor of M. Atiyah, R. Bott, F. Hirzebruch, and I. M. Singer, Harvard, MA, USA


Conference in honor of J. Arthur, Toronto, ON, Canada


Clay senior scholar, Lectures at MSRI, Berkeley, CA, USA


Distinguished Ordway Lecturer, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA


Conference in honor of J.-M. Bismut, Paris, France


Conference in honor of J. Schwermer, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics, Bonn


Kai Köhler (1999), now Professor (C3), University of Düsseldorf

Selected PhD students

Werner Hoffmann (1986): “Die Spurformel für Hecke-Operatoren über Gittern vom Rang”,
now Professor, University of Bielefeld

Gorm Salomonsen (1996): “Dirac operators and analysis on open manifolds”

Boris Vaillant (2001): “Index and Spectral Theory for Manifolds with Fibred Cusps”

Jörn Müller (2008): “Zur Kohomologie und Spektraltheorie des Hodge-Laplaceoperators von Mannigfaltigkeiten mit gefaserter Spitzenmetrik”,
now Research Assistant , HU Berlin

Clara Aldana (2009): “Inverse Spectral Theory And Relative Determinants Of Elliptic Operators On Surfaces With Cusps”,
now Postdoctoral Researcher, Mathematics Research Unit, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Jonathan Pfaff (2012): “Selberg and Ruelle zeta functions and the relative analytic torsion
on complete odd-dimensional hyperbolic manifolds of finite volume”

Ksenia Fedosova (2016): “Selber zeta functions and relative analytic torsion for hyperbolic
odd-dimensional orbifolds”,
now Research Assistant, University of Freiburg

Supervised Theses

  • Master theses: 10
  • Diplom theses: 12
  • PhD theses: 14
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