Günter Petzow was born on July 8, 1926, in Germany. He studied Chemistry and Physical Metallurgy at the University of Stuttgart and the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research. He received his master's degree in 1956 and finished his dissertation on Phase Equilibria of Quarternary Metallic Systems in 1959. Afterwards, he took over as the head of two research groups: phase diagrams of metallic systems and metallography in Stuttgart. Furthermore, he built up the Powder Metallurgical Laboratory in Stuttgart-Büsnau as a place of interdisciplinary research, which attracted guest researchers from all over the world.
In 1973 he was appointed scientific member of the board of directors of the Max Planck Society. He was Executive Managing Director of Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart and also Professor at the Universities of Stuttgart and Berlin, where he taught courses in equilibrium phase diagrams and powder metallurgy; he is now retired. His main scientific interests dealt with problems in the field of physical metallurgy, powder metallurgy, special ceramics, and phase diagrams of metallic and ceramic materials. He is the author and co-author of more than 600 research papers, 10 books, and holds 27 patents.
Prof. Petzow was President of the German Society for Materials and acts on the board of directors of several scientific societies. He was chairman of the European Action COST 507 "Measurement and Evaluation of Thermochemical and Thermophysical Properties to Provide a Database for the Development of New Light Alloys". He is the founding editor of the journal "Practical Metallography", was editor-in-chief of "Zeitschrift für Metallkunde", editor of the book series "Ternary Alloys" and member of several scientific academies and advisory boards. In 1989, he was awarded the Skaupy Prize by the Community Committee Powder Metallurgy for outstanding achievements in the field of powder metallurgy. Petzow received seven honorary doctorates, six honorary professorships and seven honorary memberships in prestigious scientific societies. Since 1993 he has been a full member of the Academia Europaea. The "Günter Petzow Prize" for outstanding research is awarded to a young scientist each year at an annual summer colloquium in Stuttgart.