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Willi Kalender

Willi Kalender

Medical physicist credited with the invention and development of spiral scan computed tomography
Willi Kalender
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Medical physicist credited with the invention and development of spiral scan computed tomography
A.K.A. Willi A. Kalender
Is Scientist Physicist Educator
From Germany
Type Academia Science
Gender male
Birth 1 January 1949
Age: 71 years
Residence Erlangen
The details


Willi A. Kalender (born August 1, 1949) is a German Medical Physicist and Professor and Chairman of the Institute of Medical Physics of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and Honorary Fellow of the British Institute of Radiology.


Willi Kalender started his studies in physics and mathematics at the University of Bonn, Germany. He completed his Master’s and Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin in 1974 and 1979, respectively. In 1988 he completed all postdoctoral lecturing qualifications (Habilitation) at the University of Tübingen, Germany.


From 1979 to 1995 Dr. Kalender worked in the research laboratories of Siemens Medical Systems in Erlangen, Germany. He was appointed head of the Medical Physics division from 1988 to 1995. Since 1992 he has been Visiting Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Wisconsin. In 1995 he was appointed full Professor and Chairman of the newly established Institute of Medical Physics at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. In 1999 he became Distinguished Visiting Professor to the Department of Radiology at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Willi A. Kalender has conducted research mainly in the area of diagnostic imaging. The development and introduction of volumetric spiral computed tomography was a particular focus of his work. The combination of slip ring systems with continuous table translation allowed a considerable reduction of examination times and has led to the invention of new and advanced applications such as heart phase-specific cardiac imaging. The development of the world’s first product options for dual-energy CT (DECT) in 1983 and metal artefact reduction (MAR) in 1987 and a multitude of dose reduction approaches are further examples of his achievements.

Other highly interesting fields of research have been radiation protection and the development of quantitative diagnostic procedures, e.g. for the assessment of osteoporosis, lung and cardiac diseases. Currently, Willi Kalender’s research focusses on the development of an efficient breast scanner system to improve the detection of breast cancer in a very early stage.

In the course of his prolific career Willi Kalender has founded a number of university spinoffs to transfer scientific results into products and small business. In recognition of his contributions to the field of medical imaging Willi Kalender has received a number of prestigious awards.

Selected Honours & Awards

  • 2002      FAAPM, Honorary Fellowship of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM)
  • 2004      Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • 2007      European Latsis Prize 2007 by the European Science Foundation (ESF)
  • 2008      Roentgen-Plakette by the City of Remscheid (WC Roentgen's birth place), Germany
  • 2009      Dr. med. h. c. (honorary doctoral degree in medicine) awarded by RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • 2009      Honorary Membership of the European Society of Radiology (ESR)
  • 2009      Elected member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2009      William D. Coolidge Award by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM)
  • 2010      Ziedses des Plantes-Medaille by the German Society of Neuroradiology
  • 2011      Dr. med. h. c. (honorary doctoral degree in medicine) awarded by the University of Zurich, CH
  • 2012      FBIR, Honorary Fellowship of the British Institute of Radiology (BIR), UK
  • 2016      Elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), USA  


(total of 954 publications, including 283 original scientific papers;

 with an h-index of 65 / ISI-Web of Knowledge) 

Selected papers

  • Kalender WA, Seissler W, Klotz E, Vock P. Spiral volumetric CT with single-breath-hold technique, continuous transport, and continuous scanner rotation. Radiology 1990; 176:181-183
  • Kalender WA. X-ray Computed Tomography. Phys Med Biol 2006; 51: R29-R43
  • Kalender WA, Kyriakou Y. Flat-detector computed tomography (FD-CT). Eur Rad 2007; 17(11): 2767-2779
  • Ertel D, Pflederer T, Achenbach S, Kalender WA. Real-time determination of the optimal re-construction phase to control ECG pulsing in spiral cardiac CT. Physica Medica 2009; 25(3): 122-127
  • Kolditz D, Kyriakou Y, Kalender WA. Volume-of-interest (VOI) imaging in C-arm flat-detector CT for high image quality at reduced dose. Med. Phys. 2010; 37(6): 2719-2730
  • Weigel M, Vollmar S, Kalender WA. Spectral optimization for dedicated breast CT. Med Phys 2011; 38(1): 114-124
  • Kalender WA, xx High-resolution spiral CT of the breast at very low dose: concept and feasibility considerations Eur Radiol 2012
  • Beister M, Kolditz D, Kalender WA. Iterative reconstruction methods in X-ray CT. Eur J of Med Phys 2012; 28: 94-108
  • Chen W, Kolditz D, Beister M, Bohle R, Kalender WA. Fast on-site Monte Carlo tool for dose calculations in CT applications.      Med Phys 2012; 39(6): 2985-2996
  • Kalender WA, Deak P, Kellermeier M, van Straten M, Vollmar SV. Application- and patient size-dependent optimization of x-ray spectra for CT. Med. Phys. 2009; 36:993-1007
  • Lück F, Kolditz D, Hupfer M, Kalender WA. Effect of shaped filter design on dose and image quality in breast CT. Phys. Med. Biol. 2013; 58(21): 4205-4223
  • Kalender WA. Dose in x-ray computed tomography. Phys Med Biol 2014; 59 R129-R150
  • Kalender WA, Kolditz D, Steiding C, Ruth V, Lück F, Rößler AC, Wenkel E. Technical feasibility proof for high-resolution low-dose photon-counting CT of the breast. Eur Radiol 2016; DOI 10.1007/s00330-016-4459-3 And a well-received text book on CT;                                                  
  • Computed tomography. Fundamentals, System Technology, Image Quality, Applications. 3rd ed. Publicis Erlangen 2011
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