Dr. Oliver Hahn of BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing was appointed Professor of "Scientific Materials Analysis Focussing on Manuscripts" at the University of Hamburg on 1 May 2014. He is one of the first scientists who will teach at a humanity faculty. At the same time he heads the BAM Division Analysis of Artefacts and Cultural Assets.
He studied chemistry and earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry with minors in history of art and inorganic chemistry. This combination of subjects is a prerequisite for his current research at BAM focussing on non-destructive investigation of artefacts and cultural assets. Dr. Hahn re-assessed reverse glass painting as opposed to glass and panel painting and examined fragments of the Dead Sea (Qumran) Scrolls as well as drawings of the young Albrecht Dürer. In 2010 he habilitated with the topic "Non-destructive examination of black writing and drawing materials" at the Technical University of Berlin.
The protection of cultural assets is a socio-political responsibility to which the BAM group headed by Oliver Hahn is committed. Damage analysis, the interaction of materials with the environment and the development of analytical and non-destructive methods are BAM’s key topics. This expertise of BAM is also incorporated in the damage analysis of historical materials and contributes to the preservation of cultural values.
Companies can also benefit from BAM’s research to protect cultural assets. BEMMA, a scheme developed by BAM for assessing emissions from museum equipment materials, provides a product certificate to companies that adhere to it, contingent upon application review and approval by BAM. This certificate will help the company in the selection of materials and their handling and processing in all assembly steps.
The professorship of Oliver Hahn helps expand BAM’s network to libraries, museums and archives. "The interdisciplinary cooperation and dialogue between humanities and sciences are of particular interest to me," says Hahn." Thus his division is part of the Collaborative Research Centre 950 "Manuscript Cultures of Asia, Africa and Europe" of the University of Hamburg and also of the Excellence Cluster “Image, knowledge, design – an interdisciplinary laboratory" of the Humboldt University of Berlin. The professorship will intensify the further development of this interdisciplinary research field.