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Experimentelle Physik III, Physics and Disarmament


Jürgen Altmann
Scientific Biography
Jürgen Altmann studied physics from 1969 to 1975 (mainly at Universität Hamburg, Germany) and did a doctoral dissertation on laser radar (Universität Hamburg, 1980). Following research work in computer pattern recognition (1980-1984, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany), he has, since 1985, studied scientific-technical problems of disarmament, first concerning high-energy laser weapons, then European ballistic-missile defence (1986-1988 at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt).
In 1988 he founded the Bochum Verification Project (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany) which has done research into the potential of automatic sensor systems for co-operative verification of disarmament and peace agreements. Experiments and evaluations dealt with acoustic, seismic, and magnetic signals from tanks, trucks and military aircraft. Since 2000 the work is continued at Lehrstuhl Experimentelle Physik III, Technische Universität Dortmund.
Prospective assessment of new military technologies and analysis of preventive-arms-control measures form another focus of his work. One area is non-lethal weapons, with a major study of acoustic weapons. Another project, done for the Office of Technology Assessment of the German Bundestag (TAB), looked at the interactions between civilian and military technologies in aviation research and development. After changing to Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany, in 2000, J. Altmann has studied military uses of microsystems technologies and of nanotechnology, with a view towards preventive arms control. Recent projects have analysed potential new technologies for non-lethal weapons, and uninhabited military systems. In 2007 he became a lecturer in experimental physics (Habilitation).
Since 2010 his work has focussed on the potential of acoustic and seismic sensing for monitoring an underground final repository for spent nuclear fuel, in the context of potential safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Measurements at an exploratory mine in a salt dome were carried out until 2012, to be followed by numerical modelling of signal propagation until 2015/2016.