Michael L. Bender
The 2019 Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership is awarded to Michael L. Bender for groundbreaking contributions to understanding the history of atmospheric composition.
Michael Bender, Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, is an authority researching the Earth system. He has worked on all aspects relevant to the EGU Alfred Wegener Medal, such as oceans, atmosphere and hydrology, expanding also to biology and physiology. What singles Bender out of other brilliant scientists is his ability to recognise how new measurements could solve problems and then intransigently investigate their possibilities.
His best known scientific contribution is his outstanding result related to atmospheric oxygen. Bender started working on this topic in the early 1980s during his stay as a visiting researcher at the Centre des Faibles Radioactivités, CNRS-CEA, Gif sur Yvette close to Paris. A milestone is his 1994 publication where he carefully reanalysed the origin of the Dole effect.
Bender has pioneered the field of ice core gas-isotope geochemistry and has conducted fundamental work on the biogeochemical cycle of oxygen and on the dating of ice cores. He is a worthy winner of the EGU Alfred Wegener Medal and Honorary Membership.