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Heinrich Wänke

The 1999 Runcorn-Florensky Medal is awarded to Heinrich Wänke for his pioneering work in establishing planetary science within the framework of the geosciences and for his authoritative contributions to planetary geochemistry and to the exploration of Planet Mars.

We have felt the need for a medal especially in the solid-body area of planetary science covering much of the geoscience aspects from geophysics to geochemistry. Also important to us has been the idea of relating the medal to outstanding names and achievements both from the east and the west. Therefore, the choice has been to name the medal after two pioneering scientists from both worlds together, Runcorn and Florensky, who are co-founders of an important part of modern planetary science.

And who else is the right person to be the first awardee of the new medal than Heinrich Wänke, who himself is a pioneer of planetary science, who has been in close contact with Runcorn and Florensky and their work, and who has during his career contributed so much to establishing planetary science in the general field of geosciences.

Heinrich Wänke has an outstanding reputation in planetary geochemistry. He has been very active in meteorite research and in studying the origin and evolution of the Moon and Mars and the question of water in the solar system. He has been very much engaged in international science cooperation at scientific and programmatic level and between east and west. He has very much contributed to the realization and success of a number of planetary missions especially to planet Mars.

Due to Heinrich Wänke’s engagement, planetary science has become an integral part of the EGS. Heinrich Wänke has been active in a number of official functions of the EGS, the most important being President from 1996-1998.

Newsletter 71, 24, 1999