ETH Board appoints new member to Empa’s Board of Directors

New Department Head for «Mobility, Energy andEnvironment»

Dec 2, 2011 | MARTINA PETER

At its meeting on 1 – 2 December, 2011, the ETH Board, the strategic management and supervisory body of the ETH Domain, appointed a new member to Empa’s Board of Directors: acting on behalf of Empa Director Gian-Luca Bona, it named Brigitte Buchmann, a chemist and expert in air pollution emissions, to this position. She will assume leadership of the Mobility, Energy and Environment Department on 1 September 2012.


In her role as Department Head, Brigitte Buchmann will succeed Peter Hofer, who is retiring in mid 2012. She studied chemistry at the University of Zurich and in 1988 received her PhD in organometallic chemistry. Afterwards, she deepened her expertise in magnetic resonance spectroscopy while working as a postdoc at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Zurich. In addition to a variety of activities as an assistant, during her studies she also pursued an education as a lecturer of chemistry at various Cantonal schools in Zurich.

In 1989, Buchmann joined Empa and managed the Emissions Group in the Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology. With great zeal and enthusiasm, she also took over as project manager of the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL), which helps establish the scientific basis underlying Swiss air-pollution policy.
Based on her experience and success with the Swiss monitoring network, she has since 1995 headed the World Calibration Centre for ozone within the Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW) of the WMO (World Meteorological Organisation), a centre she successively expanded and transformed into one of the most important pillars of the GAW programme. 

As a Laboratory Head since April 2002, she has consistently focused on the development of new techniques for measuring atmospheric trace substances as well as the computer modelling of pollutant sources. The combination of both these key areas has lead to a deeper understanding of pollution emissions as well as the burden placed on the atmosphere by pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Employing an innovative method, Buchmann used satellite data to investigate Switzerland’s air quality and in this way enhanced pollution measurements with a third dimension. As a member of the Swiss Commission for Space Affairs as well as a serving as a Swiss delegate to the ESA (European Space Agency), she was involved at a strategic level in the use of satellites for earth observations. She has also been a member of the Steering Committee of the Center for Climate Systems Modelling (C2SM) at ETH Zurich since that group was established in 2008, and of which Empa is one of the three founding institutions. Besides further memberships in a variety of expert bodies in Switzerland and Europe, she participates in countless European research projects and is also involved in teaching and education.



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