Friedrich Pfeiffer

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr. h.c. mult.

TUM Department of Mechanical Engineering
Former professor of mechanics

born February 22, 1935

Scientific work

After sixteen years in the industry, in which he was responsible for approximately 1,000 employees and a corresponding yearly revenue, Friedrich Pfeiffer added his exceptional service as an academic at TUM to his professional career. His industrial focus was astronautics and guided missile engineering. His theoretical research at the TUM focused on the basics of multibody system dynamics, and his practical work on the propulsion engineering of all kinds of transmission systems as well as in robotics and walking. Elastic multibody systems with one-sided contacts became a wholly new focus in a basic research. The simulation of CVT transmissions and the creation of the two-legged walking robot JOHNNIE are typical practical examples of this. He received the Körber European Science Award in 1993 for his work in the field of walking robots. His working environment always featured extensive international and interdisciplinary cooperation. Since 1990, he has been involved in the publication of more than ten international professional journals and book series. Friedrich Pfeiffer received numerous distinctions and honorary memberships for his academic opus. Since 2007, he has coordinated the Leonardo da Vinci Center for Bionics at the Technische Universität München.


Short biography

1955 – 1961 Studies in general mechanical engineering, TH Darmstadt
1965 Doctorate in aerodynamics, TH Darmstadt
1966 – 1970 Development engineer, Bölkow GmbH, Ottobrun/Munich
1970 – 1978 Director of astronautics, later director of Dr. Ludwig Bölkow's technical practice, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)
1978 – 1980 Director of engineering, Bayern-Chemie GmbH, Aschau/Inn
1980 – 1982 Departmental director of Plant Development, MBB
1982 – 2000 Chair of mechanics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, TUM


Memberships and honors

Consulting professor, Tongji University, Shanghai, China (1999)

Member of the German Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics (DGLR)

Member of the European Mechanics Society (EUROMECH)

Member of the International Union for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM)

Member of the selection committee of the German National Academic Foundation (1970-2002)

Member of the senate of the German Research Foundation (DFG) (1996-2002)

International member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Moscow, Russia (since 2003)

President of the International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM)

Member of the board of trustees of the Aachen and Munich Prize for technology and applied natural sciences (1995-2005)

Member (since 1996) and rector (since 2006) of the scientific council, International Center for Mechanical Sciences (CISM), Udine, Italy 75



  • Körber European Science Prize, together with professors Felix Chernousko, Holk Cruse and François Clarac (1993)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Moscow, Russia (1998)
  • German Federal Cross of Merit (2000)
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) (2003)
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) (2004)
  • Honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Dresden (2004)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (2006)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Bologna, Italy (2008)
  • ASME Leonardo da Vinci Award (2010)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF]