The 1997 Louis Néel Medal is awarded to Reinhard Boehler for his crucial studies of the phases and properties of materials at pressures and temperatures simulating conditions in the Earth’s lower mantle and core.
Reinhard Boehler received his Diploma in 1970 and his PhD in 1974 from the University of Tübingen, Germany. Afterwards he worked on a post-doctoral fellowship with Professor G C Kennedy at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), University of California, Los Angeles, USA, where he later on became an Assistant Research Geophysicist and the Head of the high pressure laboratory. Since 1986, Reinhard Boehler has been Head of High pressure group, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz, Germany.
Reinhard Boehler’s research activities have been related to the thermal properties of materials at very high pressure and to the Grüneisenparameters, the adiabatic gradient and the thermal expansivity relevant to simple metals and mantle-core materials. He developed new high-pressure techniques (laser-heated diamond anvil cells), conducted the first direct measurements at temperatures above 4000 K and the first melting experiments on iron at core conditions (up to 2 Mbar), and has developed models of thermal expansivity in the Earth’s interior.
Frank Stacey writes:“Reinhard Boehler’s measurements on iron at very high pressures have been the crucial ones. He found the first evidence of a new phase of iron at high temperatures and pressure. Probably his most remarkable observation, however, is the high melting point (about 8000 K) of silicate perovskite at core-mantle boundary pressure.”
Newsletter 63, 30, 1997