News no.: 2011052
Author: Katrin Busch

Honorary Doctorate for Wolfgang Berger

Professor Wolfgang Berger (Photo: Volker Diekamp/ MARUM)

The University of Bremen has conferred an honorary doctorate on Professor Wolfgang Berger. The internationally renowned oceanographer and climate researcher received this accolade for outstanding scientific achievement and his contribution to building up the Faculty of Geosciences at the University of Bremen. The award ceremony took place on Tuesday 24th May in the Bremen City Hall.

Wolfgang Berger was there from the very beginning when the Faculty of Geosciences was founded in 1986. Initially, he was a visiting professor at the University and responsible for setting up Bremen’s very first Collaborative Research Center (CRC), which was dedicated to the topic of climate and environmental history of the South Atlantic. “This first collaborative research center represented a milestone for the University“, says Professor Gerold Wefer, Director of the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) at the University of Bremen. “Without this CRC it would hardly have been possible for MARUM to become a research center of the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG) and go on to form the subsequent cluster of excellence.“

Wolfgang Berger studied geology and palaeontology in Erlangen and at the University of Colorado, USA. In 1968 he obtained a doctorate from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. Following a brief intermezzo in Kiel, his scientific roots remained at this renowned US research institution for almost three decades. It was there that Wolfgang Berger became co-founder of paleoceanography, a branch of research that reconstructs the climate and environmental history of our planet by examining marine sediments. Berger’s impressive list of publications encompasses 275 scientific articles and almost a dozen books and book chapters, including the groundbreaking textbook entitled “The Seafloor – An Introduction to Marine Geology“.

“Wolfgang Berger’s research is characterized by a pronounced interdisciplinary approach“, says Gerold Wefer. He refers to the many marine expeditions his colleague has undertaken, remarking: “He always had a focus on the synergies arising from combining marine-related geosciences with oceanography, marine biology and marine chemistry.“

The honorary doctorate awarded by the University of Bremen is for the time being the most recent award that Wolfgang Berger has received for his work. Along with a number of international science medals, in 1986 the ocean researcher also received the German Humboldt Prize for his innovative contributions to research.