Recognized expert on air pollution and environmental science

New Department Head for «Mobility, Energy andEnvironment»

On 1st September, 2012, Dr. Brigitte Buchmann, takes over as newly appointed head of Empa’s Mobility, Energy and Environment Department. At the same time she also assumes her new role as new Member of the Board of Directors of the institution. In both positions she follows in the footsteps of  Dr. Peter Hofer, who retired at the end of August.
Brigitte Buchmann studied chemistry at the University of Zurich and in 1988 was awarded her PhD in organometallic chemistry. Following this, she deepened her expertise in magnetic resonance spectroscopy while working as a postdoc at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Zurich. During this time she also pursued additional educational courses, qualifying as a lecturer in chemistry at various cantonal high schools in Zurich, this in addition to a variety of activities as a postdoctoral assistant.

In 1989, Buchmann joined Empa as leader of 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 provides data used to 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 Programm (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 with responsibility for 30 scientific staff, 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 led to a deeper understanding of how pollution is emitted as well as the burden placed on the atmosphere by pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Buchmann also employed an innovative method using satellite data to investigate air quality in Switzerland and in this way enhanced pollution measurements by adding a third dimension. As a member of the Swiss Commission for Space Affairs, as well as 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 this group (of which Empa is one of the three founding institutions) was established in 2008. Besides further memberships in a variety of expert bodies in Switzerland and Europe, she is an active participant in countless European research projects and is also involved in teaching and education.

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