National Institute of Aquatic Resources

Ocean Salinity and DTU

The defining property of seawater is that it is salty, and natural philosophers dating back to antiquity have pondered questions such as why this is so, what is the nature of the saltiness, and does it change from place to place. In this, DTU has played a major role in our modern understanding of seawater salinity in that it has, in its history, produced two of the leading figures in development of the measurement of salinity. These are:

Johan Georg Forchhammer (26 July 1794 – 14 December 1865) the 2nd rector of DTU, who coined the term salinity and championed the concept of the “constant composition of seawater”, which lead to the first practical means of measuring salinity on a global scale.

Martin Hans Christian Knudsen (February 15, 1871 – May 27, 1949), a world leading physicist in the kinetic theory of matter, who also had a life-long interest in oceanography, establishing “standard seawater” and promoting highly accurate measurements of ocean salinity.


Last updated 31.07.2014