GeoBerlin 2015 – Alfred Wegener

GeoBerlin 2015  4–7 October 2015 | Annual Meeting  DGGV  • DMG

DYNAMIC EARTH from Alfred Wegener to today and beyond

DYNAMISCHE ERDE von Alfred Wegener bis heute und in die Zukunft

Alfred Lothar Wegener, born November 1, 1880, in Berlin, is a pioneer of polar research and metereology. He studied Physics, Meterology, and Astronomy, and participated or lead four Greenland expeditions.

He died on the fourth expedition in October 1930.

Alfred Wegener is most reknown for his hypothesis on the continental drift, published in 1915 in his seminal book “Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane”. However, his hypothesis was rejected on the grounds that a physical mechanism to move the rigid continents was not proposed.

Only in the 1960’s the discovery of mid-ocean ridges, sea floor spreading, and subduction earthquakes revitalised his hypothesis in the form of “plate tectonics”. Today, Alfred is reknown as the most eminent German Geoscientist and one of the most influential Geoscientists world-wide.

Alfred Wegener in equally reknown for his metereologic work, summarised in his book “Thermodynamik der Atmosphäre” in 1911.

Less known is is research on impact craters, published in the book “Die Entstehung der Mondkrater” in 1921. A lunar and a martian crater is named after him.

In his honour, the European Geosciences Union awards the Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership as one of the three most prestigious awards made by the Union to scientists who have achieved exceptional international standing in atmospheric, hydrological or ocean sciences. The Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung” in Bremerhaven adopted the name “Alfred-Wegener-Institut”. And the umbrella organisation of the German Geoscience Associations carries the name “GeoUnion Alfred-Wegener-Stiftung”.

Further information on Alfred Wegener:

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