EGU Award Ceremony (Credit: EGU/Foto Pfluegl)

Portrait Augustus Love

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European Geosciences Union

Augustus Love

Augustus Love
Augustus Love

Professor Augustus Edward Hough Love, F.R.S., was born in 1863 at Weston-super-Mare, England, and died in 1940 at Oxford, England. He graduated from Cambridge and held the Sedleian Chair of Natural Philosophy at Oxford from 1899. Augustus Love has made at least two lasting contributions in the area of geodynamics: the introduction of the correct way on how to deal with pre-stress in solid Earth deformation, and the particular way he treated deformation over a broad temporal and spatial spectrum of geodynamical subjects, honoured by the so-called "Love numbers", as they, are widely known and used in post-glacial rebound, Earth rotation and solid Earth tides modeling. Apart from this, he also discovered one of the two types of seismic surface waves, the so-called "Love waves".

Love's principle original work in geodynamics is "Some Problems of Geodynamics" (1911; reissued as a Dover edition in 1967), which won the Adams Prize at Cambridge in the same year. Its contents lists parts on the origin of the distribution of land and water (Chapter I), stress in and isostasy of continents and mountains (Chapters II and III), on solid Earth tides (Chapters IV - VI), and on gravitational instability and compressibility (Chapters VII - IX). Taking into account that his name lives on in the post-glacial rebound, Earth rotation and solid Earth tides community in the so-called "Love numbers", all three communities (Mantle and Core Convection; Tectonophysics; and Post-glacial Rebound and Earth Rotation) of the GD Division are thus represented in this early work on geodynamics.

During his lifetime, Love has received many honours, including the Royal Medal and the Sylvester Medal of the Royal Society, the De Morgan Medal of the London Mathematical Society, while on the Moon his name lives on in the Crater Love. Still, nowadays Augustus Love's name would likely not be the first that one would think of when speaking about mantle and core convection or tectonophysics, but he has made essential early contributions to the underlying "Dynamics of a Gravitating Compressible Body of Planetary Dimensions", as he dubs it in the foreword to his 1911 monograph of these later study areas.