Dr. Karl Berger
father of modern lightning research



Berger, K., "Novel Observations on Lightning Discharges: Results of Research on Mount San Salvatore," Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 283, June 1967, pp. 478-525.

Berger, K., R.B. Anderson and H. Kroeninger of CIGRE Study Committee No. 33 (Overvoltages and Insulation Co-ordination). “Parameters of Lightning Flashes” published in Electra 41 (1975).

Berger, K, "Blitzstrom-Parameter von Aufwärtsblitzen," (Lightning Parameters for Upward Flashes), Bull. Schweiz. Elektrotech. Bd. 69: 353-60., 1978.

Anderson, R.B. & A.J. Eriksson. “Lightning Parameters for Engineering Application” published in Electra 69 (1980).

Berger, K., Garbagnati, E., "Lightning Current Parameters Results Obtained in Switzerland and in Italy,", Florence, Italy, 1984.

In Commemoration

For over 30 years Karl Berger regularly climbed his Mt. San Salvatore overlooking Lake Lugano in Switzerland. There, from two towers, he observed, measured and compiled a wealth of data on the phenomena of lightning. Much of what we know about lightning comes from his work. Ironically, the IEC based the 10/350 waveform on that work as published in the two ELECTRA papers above. These and some of Berger's other papers are provided here because they are relatively hard to come by and you may want to see what Berger actually wrote.

The Swiss weather was atrocious, his equipment, rudimentary, but despite these and other challenges, his accomplishments were Olympian, owing to his remarkable powers of observation and deductive reasoning. Coming face to face with the forces of lightning as regularly as did Berger, one would expect him to have developed a keen sense of humor. (Otherwise he'd have sought out a different occupation.) This sense of humor would have certainly been tickled when the IEC "determined" that the lightning currents he knew and unequivically stated to be upward lightning were "in fact" positive CG lightning. He might not have been so amused to find the IEC concocting a 10/350 waveform out of a meager 4 lightning currents which Berger specifically cautioned not be used for that purpose.

Looking down from wherever he may now be, Berger can hopefully enjoy a little relief at last. Now that his name has been cleared by CIGRE's 2013 report, he will no longer bear the stigma of being the source of a destructive piece of junk science. Now his very meaningful scientific contributions can and will be fully appreciated for the true gifts that they are. RIP, Karl.