Franz Mayinger †

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

TUM Department of Mechanical Engineering
Former professor of thermodynamics

September 2, 1931 to June 24, 2021

Interview with TUM Emeritus of Excellence Franz Mayinger

"I had a lot of freedom in my research"

At TUM, Franz Mayinger received the education to become a specialist for Thermofluid Dynamics. As a highly esteemed expert for reactor design and safety, among other things, he was active in industry, research and as the chairman of the Federal Major Accidents Commission. [read more]


The themes of Franz Mayinger’s academic work are manifold and are best described by his research into thermofluiddynamics. At the beginning of his academic career, he focused his interest on transport processes, thereby opening up a broad spectrum of scientific interrogation, which in subsequent years allowed the departmental chair to grow continually and become one of the largest within the area of mechanical engineering at TUM. Franz Mayinger focused his work on substance values and heat transfer phenomena, particularly in regard to multiphase flow, like those that exist in reactors and chemical engineering plants. One of his specialities, which garnered him high academic recognition, was the early usage of optical measurement techniques that he had developed himself. During his eighteen years at the Technische Universität München, he received international renown for his chair in thermodynamics. In 1989, Franz Mayinger launched the Bayerischer Forschungsverbund Systemtechnik, within which research institutes and business companies work closely together. His lengthy service in academic organizations is particularly striking. From 1991 to 1997, he was a member of the German Council of Science and Humanities, and he is the founding dean of the Department of Applied Sciences and, currently, the chairperson of the university council of the University of Bayreuth. Franz Mayinger’s research as well as his commitment to academic politics decisively influenced the development of the field of engineering in Germany

Short biography

1951 – 1955 Studies in mechanical engineering, TH Munich
1961 Doctorate in thermodynamics, TH Munich
1962 – 1969 Director of the Research Department for Nuclear and Chemical Engineering at MAN, Nuremberg
1973 Appointment to the Nuclear Reseach Center Karlsruhe
1973 / 1977 Appointments to the University of Stuttgart
1969 – 1981 Professor and director of the Institute of Process Engineering, TU Hanover
1981 – 1999 Professor of thermodynamics, TUM


Memberships and honors

Full member of the Braunschweigische Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft (1976-1981)

Member of the senate and senior committee of the German Research Foundation (1979-1984)

Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BAdW), category: mathematics-sciences (since 1989)

Member of the Reactor Security Commission (RSK) of the Federal German Ministry of the Interior, then the Ministry of the Environment; three years of which served as chair (1971-1992)

Member of the scientific advisory board and the executive committee (chair 1990-1992) of the International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer (1987-1994)

Chair of the Hazardous Incident Commission of the Federal German Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Reactor Safety (1992-1995)

Member of the board of directors of Noell (Preussag Group), (1980-1995)

Member of the German council of science and humanities (1991-1997)

Member of the Scientific-Technical Advisory Board (WTB) of the Bavarian state government (1993-1999)

Founding dean of the Department of Applied Natural Sciences at the University of Bayreuth (1995-1999)

Initiator and First Director of the Bavarian Elite Academy (1998-2002)

Member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) (since 2002)

Chair of the board of trustees of the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research e. V. (ZAE) (2005-2008)

Chair of the university advisory council at the University of Bayreuth (since 1999-2009) 



  • German Federal Officer's Cross of Merit (1990)
  • Max Jakob Memorial Award from the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) (1991)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Hanover (1994)
  • Pro Meritis-Medal from the Bavarian Minister of Sciences, Research and Arts (1995)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit (1995)
  • Bavarian Environmental Award (1998)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Medal from TUM (1999)
  • Ernest Solvay Prize (2000)
  • Bavarian Maximialian Order for Science and Art (2001)
  • Honorary doctorate (2006) and honorary senator from the University of Bayreuth
  • NURETH Senior Fellow Award (2013)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]