Nuclear reactions shaped the research life of Otto Hittmair, an internationally renowned nuclear physicist. After studying mathematics and physics at the University of Innsbruck, he first went to Basel and Dublin, Cambridge and Paris. In 1953 he habilitated in Innsbruck, followed by research stays in Sydney and Buenos Aires. In 1958 Otto Hittmair started as a staff member at the Atomic Institute of the Austrian Universities. In 1963 he became a full professor of theoretical physics at the Vienna University of Technology, focusing in particular on nuclear physics.
Hittmair authored over 100 scientific papers. For his services he received the Prechtl Medal, the Erwin Schrödinger Prize as well as the Science Prize for Natural Science of the City of Vienna, the Great Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Budapest. In 2001 an asteroid was named after him, and in Innsbruck there is Otto Hittmair Square.