Press release

Professor Tunga Salthammer receives the “Pettenkofer Gold Medal”

Braunschweig /

An exceptional honor for scientists at the Fraunhofer WKI: Professor Dr. Tunga Salthammer has been awarded the “Pettenkofer Gold Medal” by the Academy of Fellows of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ). The Head of the Material Analysis and Indoor Chemistry department thereby receives the Academy's highest accolade.

Portrait photo of Professor Salthammer, taken at the Fraunhofer WKI.
© Hanno Keppel
Professor Salthammer receives the “Pettenkofer Gold Medal” 2020.

As justification for the honor, the Academy cites Professor Salthammer's outstanding research accomplishments related to studies of indoor air chemistry, aerosol science, and emissions from materials and other sources of indoor air pollutants. Awards in the various categories are normally presented within the framework of the Indoor Air Conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indoor Air took place in Seoul in November 2020 as a completely virtual event. The award winners have now been subsequently announced. A formal personal presentation is scheduled for July 2022 in Kuopio during Indoor Air 2022.

“I warmly congratulate Professor Salthammer on this award. Here at the Fraunhofer WKI, we know him as a thorough researcher who has earned a great reputation for his perseverance and high aspirations in scientific achievements. The Fraunhofer WKI benefits significantly from his successes and we are deeply indebted to him,” said Professor Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal, Institute Director of the Fraunhofer WKI.

Professor Salthammer was surprised: “For me, the award was completely unexpected and I am delighted about it. It is important for me to emphasize that these achievements and successes would not have been possible without my colleagues in our department. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to them.”

Professor Salthammer and his team address the measurement and evaluation of indoor air contaminants and consumer-related products. The spectrum of materials thereby investigated ranges from classic wood-based materials, through plastics and building items, and on to products from the automotive, electronics, aircraft and food industries. The development of new analysis and sampling techniques as well as the construction of emission test chambers and cells are further important fields of work. The scientists investigate questions of indoor hygiene and indoor climate with regard to the environment, health and consumer protection.  

Tunga Salthammer received his doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) in physical chemistry from the Technische Universität Braunschweig. He joined the Fraunhofer WKI in 1990 and was appointed Head of the Material Analysis and Indoor Chemistry department in 1996. From January 2010 to October 2010, he was Acting Director of the Fraunhofer WKI, and since March 2011, he has been Deputy Director of the institute. From 2003 to 2006, Prof. Salthammer was a member of the ISIAQ Board of Directors. From 2003 to 2009, he was Professor of Indoor Hygiene at the Ostfalia, University of Applied Sciences in Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel. Since 2007, Prof. Salthammer has been an adjunct professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. In June 2008, he habilitated at the Faculty of Life Sciences at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, and in December 2012, he was appointed as an adjunct professor. Prof. Salthammer has been a visiting professor at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby, Tsinghua University in Beijing, and the Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha. He is Chairman of the Indoor Air Hygiene Commission of the German Environment Agency, and former President of the ISIAQ Academy of Fellows. His research interests include analytical chemistry, VOC/SVOC emission studies on indoor materials using test chambers and cells, indoor air chemistry, airborne particles, and house dust.

The “Pettenkofer Gold Medal” is awarded every three years at the Indoor Air Conference by the ISIAQ Academy of Fellows to an individual in recognition of outstanding work in the advancement of indoor air science. The medal, which is the Academy's highest accolade, is in honor of Prof. Max von Pettenkofer as the founder of modern hygiene with his groundbreaking work on carbon dioxide and air exchange in residential buildings. ISIAQ was founded in 1992 by 109 international researchers and practitioners in the wake of the fifth International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Indoor Air `90. It is an international, independent, multidisciplinary, scientific and non-profit organization whose mission is to support the creation of healthy indoor environments that promote productivity.  

Background of the Fraunhofer WKI

Sustainability through the utilization of renewable raw materials has formed the focus at the Fraunhofer WKI for 75 years. The institute, with locations in Braunschweig, Hanover and Wolfsburg, specializes in process engineering, natural-fiber composites, binders and coatings, wood and emission protection, quality assurance of wood products, material and product testing, recycling procedures and the utilization of organic building materials and wood in construction. Virtually all the procedures and materials resulting from the research activities are applied industrially.

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