2023 Spring Luncheon Honoree

Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp

In May 2023, Brigitte received the Women in Acoustic Lunch Honoree of the ASA for her leadership in the Acoustical Society of America.

Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, professor of Psychoacoustic, Noise Effects, and Soundscape-research, recently retired from Technische Universität Berlin (the Technical University of Berlin), Germany. Dr. Schulte-Fortkamp was a research professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Osaka University and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. 

She is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and an active member of many committees inside ASA. She chaired the TC Noise (Technical Committee of Noise) from 2008 to 2010. In 2011–2012, she made history by becoming the first non-North American person elected Vice-President of the Acoustical Society of America. She also served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) for 12 years. Currently, she is the chair of the ASA Committee of International Liaison. 

Since 2016, she has been Vice President of the European Acoustics Association (EAA). Dr. Schulte-Fortkamp is a Distinguished International Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE USA). Among others, she is a leading member of the ISO/TC 43/SC 1/WG 54 – Perceptual assessment of soundscape quality, ISO 12913-1-3, which is currently a work in progress for part 4.

Soundscape was a new concept in noise effect research in the 90s. After studying sociology and psychology at the Universities of Freiburg and Göttingen, Brigitte obtained her doctorate in Oldenburg. Her thesis, “Evaluating noises in the laboratory. Development of interdisciplinary research methods and their research-sociological analysis,” was judged by five sociology, political science, and acoustics professors. This was the start of lifelong multidisciplinary research. In the mid-nineties, she started to initiate Soundscape research at international acoustic conferences; today, almost all acoustic conferences have at least one session on soundscape.  

In 2012, Brigitte, with Dr. Judy Dubno, initiated and started the ASA School “Living in the Acoustic Environment,” which will hold its 6th event for graduate and early career acousticians in the spring of 2024. The school allows participants to learn and discuss a wide variety of interdisciplinary acoustical topics and a chance to become familiar with different committees at ASA and provide prospects for future collaborations.

For many years, Brigitte served as a board member of the German Acoustical Society; she initiated the International Noise Awareness Day in Germany, which is celebrating its 26th year under her leadership. Currently, she is a member of the board of directors of the HEAD-Genuit Foundation. 

In 2010, Dr. Schulte-Fortkamp was awarded the “Hear the World Foundation;” in 2012, she received the “European Soundscape Award,” and in March 2023, she received the Helmholtz Medal by the German Acoustical Society, the highest honor in Germany regarding lifetime work in the science of Acoustics. 

Dr. Schulte-Fortkamp’s leadership goes beyond committees and societies; she is the leading editor in many publications, most recently Springer Book SHAR Volume 76 Soundscape: Humans and Their Acoustic Environment, published in April 2023. 

But above all, Brigitte is married and a proud mother of two sons and four grandsons. In the Fall 2018 of Acoustic Today, Ask an Acoustician, when Brigitte was asked about the proudest achievement of her career, she mentioned the balance between family and career and her two sons as her most significant achievements. She said how her life-work balance transferred to her kids in their own lives. Brigitte’s leadership goes beyond academia and well into her family.