Public Release: 

Gerhard M. Sessler awarded the 2015 Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America

ASA 2015 Gold Medal

Acoustical Society of America

Melville (NY), 6 July 2015--Gerhard M. Sessler, Professor at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) for the development of electret and silicon-based micromachined microphones. The award was presented at the 169th meeting of the ASA on 20 May 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Gold Medal is presented to a member of the ASA whose contributions to the field of acoustics and to the Acoustical Society have been unusually distinguished.

"I am exceedingly honored that the Acoustical Society of America, with which I have been associated for over half a century, has recognized my contributions to acoustics by presenting its Gold Medal to me.," said Sessler.

Gerhard Sessler earned a Dr. rer. nat. degree from the University of Goettingen. He served as Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories (1959 to 1975) after which he joined the Technische Universität Darmstadt as a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering where he continues to serve as Professor Emeritus since 1999.

Gerhard Sessler's major research and professional interests are the development of new microphone types and the investigation of the materials needed for their design. In 1962 at Bell Labs he, together with James E. West, invented the first polymer electret condenser microphone (ECM) which combined high performance features with small size and low cost. ECM's were commercialized in 1968 and soon became worldwide the major microphone type. In 1983 Sessler and his co-worker Dietmar Hohm at the University of Darmstadt designed the first MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-systems) condenser microphone. MEMS microphones are tiny, resistant to high temperatures, insensitive to disturbing vibrations, and suitable as surface mount devices. ECM's and MEMS microphones of the types invented by Dr. Sessler are nowadays made in quantities of about 4 billion annually and constitute more than 90 percent of the total microphone production worldwide.

Gerhard Sessler serves as Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation and Acustica/Acta Acustica and has published over 120 papers in refereed journals. He also holds 14 patents and is author of over 20 books or book chapters. He is a Fellow of the ASA, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His previous awards include the Helmholtz Medaille of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik, the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal of the ASA, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering of The Franklin Institute. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (USA) in 1999.


The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America--the world's leading journal on acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The Society also holds two major scientific meetings per year. For more information about the Society visit our website,

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