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"So long, Gerold Wefer!"

Jun 21, 2022
"So long, Gerold Wefer": At a celebration, Michael Schulz presents gifts to his predecessor and institute founder Gerold Wefer. Photo: MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen; V. Diekamp

Since 1985, the name Gerold Wefer has been inseparably linked with the Earth and Marine Sciences and MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen. During this time he has accompanied many students, PhD students and colleagues in Germany and worldwide. They have now all looked back together with Gerold Wefer and his family. In doing so, they recalled above all Wefer's inspiration, his perseverance and his focus on pulling together. Early on, Gerold Wefer's enthusiasm for large-scale scientific equipment and technological developments was evident.

At an informal get-together on June 17, companions and staff members reminisced about the founding times and the development of MARUM and paid tribute to Gerold Wefer's work and his decades of dedication. He always had in mind the communication of scientific findings to society - and the necessity of finding appropriate analogies and comparisons.


Gerold Wefer's work in Bremen, at the University ofBremen and at MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences:

Gerold Wefer followed a call to the University of Bremen in 1985. He helped to establish the Department of Geosciences, the diploma programs Geology-Paleontology, Geophysics and Mineralogy.

In parallel, a research profile in marine geosciences was developed together with non-university partners. Highlights, Gerold Wefer recalls, "for me were the first Bremen METEOR expedition in 1988, the approval of the DFG Collaborative Research Center "South Atlantic" one year later and the DFG Research Center "Continental Margins" in 2001." Further milestones were the graduate school GLOMAR in 2006, the foundation of MARUM, which he headed as director until 2012, the cluster "The Ocean in the Earth System" (2007) within the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments, and the establishment of the ODP/IODP Drill Core Repository (from 1994). In addition, Gerold Wefer had a significant influence in the development and further development of large-scale equipment for marine research. This includes remotely operated diving robots as well as autonomous vehicles to explore the ocean floor and, as a particularly important development, mobile seafloor drill rigs.

Gerold Wefer has also had a significant impact on public relations in Bremen, at the university and at MARUM. He helped plan and build the Universum Science Center (2000), founded the MARUM UNISchullaboratory, initiated the House of Science in the heart of downtown Bremen (2005), and in the same year helped win the title "City of Science".

In 2019, he received the Senate Medal for Arts and Science of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

CV and scientific awards