Expert Committee
History of DGM

From hand axes to superconductors - this is how the focus of the Expert Committee History of DGM could be described in a nutshell. The permanent further development of materials is an outstanding sign of the cultural history of mankind. However, the development of materials was not merely a succession of heroic inventions. Rather, it was set in a variety of contemporary contexts.

The founding of the Expert Committee History of DGM in 2013 in Kassel took place for pragmatic reasons. This involved the preparation of the 100th anniversary in November 2019 on a scientific basis. To this end, interviews were conducted with contemporary witnesses, annual symposia were organized, and the development of a digital DGM archive was initiated. This preliminary work resulted in the publication of the documentation "100 Years of the German Materials Society 1919-2019".

The Expert Committee History of DGM fulfills a cross-sectional task within the DGM. Because all topics of the DGM Expert Committees have prehistory. To explain the long series of material innovations, we now look at the diverse interactions between inventors, processors, and consumers and the political, social, and cultural context in the history of science, economics, and technology. We want to reconstruct the factors that were responsible for the abundance of innovations - from laboratory work to the extrusion press to the marketable end product, but also the framework of state science and technology policy. The aim is, on the one hand, to serve the historical interests of the members and, on the other hand, to raise awareness of the importance of materials in history and society beyond the scope of the Expert Committee.

To achieve this goal, the Expert Committee offers annual symposia whose topics address current interest. In 2014, for example, the symposium "Materials in World War I" was held to mark the beginning of World War I in 1914. 25 years after reunification, this was followed in 2015 by "The year 1990 and the reunification of German materials scientists and materials engineers", and in 2019 by "100 years of national and international joint work in the DGM". In the future, the Expert Committee intends to work even harder to publicize the contributions of the symposia in conference proceedings.


The Expert Committee History of DGM aims to make the historical significance of materials visible among both materials scientists and historians. In doing so, it takes a look at the most diverse aspects:

  • Cultural significance of materials in history.
  • Material knowledge and technologies / material disciplines of engineering and natural sciences.
  • Technical-scientific societies/associations.
  • Craft and industry / history of consumption.
  • Environmental history of materials / recycling.
  • Materials in armament and war.

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