TUM – Technical University of Munich Menü

Prof. Dr. Karin Zachmann


History of Technology

Academic Career and Research Areas

Professor Karin Zachmann is known internationally for her scholarship on engineering professions and technical education, co-construction of technology and users, gender history, technologies of the Cold War and the industrialization of food. Her current research focuses on the question how knowledge gains or loses credibility. For studying this question, she analyses societal disputes on the safety of technology. Professor Zachmann is speaker of the DFG research unit 2448: Practices of evidence in science, medicine, technology and society.

After studying economics and history at the University of Leipzig, Professor Zachmann acquired her doctorate at TU Dresden. She completed her postdoctoral teaching qualification (habilitation) at TU Darmstadt. She worked at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, TU Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin as a visiting professor. Professor Zachmann is member of the scientific advisory board of the MPIWG, member of the board of trustees of the Deutsches Museum and member of the program committee of the Society for the History of Technology.


  • Publication award of the Deutschen Museums for the best book in 2004 (2005)
  • International Scholar of the Society for the History of Technology (1997-1998)
  • René Kuczynski Award of the Yearbook for the Economic History for the best article of the young scholar group (1985)

Key Publications (all publications)

Zachmann K, Karafyllis NC (Editors): Pflanzliche Biofakte: Geschichten über die Technisierung der Agrikultur im 20. Jahrhundert. Sonderheft Technikgeschichte. 2017; 84(2).

Zachmann K: "Risk in Historical Perspective: Concepts, Contexts, and Conjunctions". In: Risk - A Multidisciplinary Introduction. Editors: Klüppelberg C, Straub D, Welpe I. Heidelberg: Springer, 2014: 3-36.

Zachmann K: "Atoms for Peace and Radiation for Safety – How to Build Trust in Irradiated Foods in Cold War Europe and Beyond". History and Technology. 2011; 27: 65-90.

Oldenziel R, Zachmann K (Eds.): Cold War Kitchen: Americanization, Technology, and European Users. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009.

Zachmann K: Mobilisierung der Frauen. Technik, Geschlecht und Kalter Krieg in der DDR. Frankfurt, New York: Campus, 2004.