Rainer Kress was born 1941 in Kassel, Germany. After studying mathematics and physics at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt he received his doctorate in 1968 and his habilitation in 1969. From 1970 until 1971 he served as a research fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich. He has been a full professor of numerical and applied mathematics in Göttingen since 1971. At the University of Göttingen, from 1974 until 1975 until 1981 he served aschairman of the Fachbereich Mathematik, from 1978 until 1981 as dean of the Mathematisch Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, and from 1993 until 1995 as vice president. Since 1995 he is a member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences. In 1975 he declined an offer for a full professorship at the Technical University in Berlin. In 2010 he retired to the position of a professor emeritus.
The main research interests of Rainer Kress are in integral equations with emphasis on numerical methods and in direct and inverse boundary value problems in scattering theory. He was on the editorial board of five international journals in the above areas, that is, SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, Journal of Integral Equations and Applications, Inverse Problems, Journal of Inverse and Ill-posed Problems, and Mathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences. He is author of five books. The second and fourth book were jointly written with David Colton from the University of Delaware, the second book was translated into Russian by Mir (Moscow, 1987), and authorized reprints of the third and fifth book were made in China. Since 1971 he was adviser of around 100 diplom students and 31 PhD students.
Rainer Kress had appointments as a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, the University of Delaware in the US and the University of New South Wales in Australia. He was co-organizer of the annual GAMM meetings 1975 and 2000 in Göttingen and of five workshops at the mathematical research institute in Oberwolfach between 1980 and 2000. Since around 1995 he was on the organizing committee of about 10 international conferences on inverse problems.