The 2007 Julius Bartels Medal is awarded to Rainer Schwenn for his outstanding and pioneering achievements towards our understanding of the solar corona and the solar wind.
Rainer Schwenn’s pioneering work has significantly deepened our understanding of solar-terrestrial relationships through his fruitful participation as Co-Investigator in the Helios mission, as Co- Investigator and technical manager of the German contribution to the Giotto Ion Mass Spectrometer and, most of all, his impressive achievements as Co-Investigator and Project Scientist of the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronograph (LASCO) on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and member of the SOHO Science team.
SOHO, launched in 1995 through an ESA-NASA international cooperation, moves around the Lagrange point 1 between Earth and Sun (at about 1.5 Million km distance from Earth) and has continuously been observing the Sun since then with a wide array of instruments. Schwenn’s LASCO has provided, for the first time, direct observations of coronal mass ejections, which play a key role in solar-terrestrial relations research and in particular for the prediction of “space weather”. Thus these continuous observations do not only provide a breakthrough in the scientific understanding of the solar corona, coronal mass ejections, and the solar wind but they also provide important space weather information, which is readily available on the internet.
Besides these scientific achievements, Rainer Schwenn has successfully been active in communicating scientific findings both to the scientific community and to a wider non-specialist audience through publications and exciting lectures, fostering a new understanding of the Sun and its influence on Earth and the interplanetary space. Like Julius Bartels, who besides for being an outstanding scientist was famous for his stimulating lectures, Rainer Schwenn is indefatigable in delivering wonderful lectures to all kinds of specialist and non-specialist audiences.