Seismic waves spread out unevenly

German Students Award goes to Potsdam's young researcher Hauke Marquardt

23.11.2010 | Potsdam: Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, presented the German Study Award 2010 on Tuesday, 23 November in the premises of the German Parliamentary Society in Berlin. The Körber Foundation awards this prize for outstanding doctoral dissertations, which are also of particular social importance. This year, the first prize in the category of natural science and technology goes to the geoscientist Hauke Marquardt from the Free University Berlin /GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. The young top researchers each receive a prize money of € 30 000.

With his thesis, the GFZ-geologist Hauke Marquardt asserted himself against the competition in the natural and technical sciences. Marquardt will be honoured for his outstanding achievements in the field of geomaterials research under the extreme pressure and temperature conditions like they prevail within the earth. For his award-winning thesis he used the mineral ferropericlase, probably the second most common mineral in the lower mantle. In the experiment, he used a diamond anvil apparatus to subject single crystals of this mineral to pressures as they are found in the Earth’s mantle. He proved that in the lower mantle, the velocity of the outgoing shear waves from earthquakes (S-waves) very much depends on the spatial orientation of the mineral ferropericlase. This is one explanation for the uneven spread of seismic waves seismologists observed deep in the earth body, directly above the core-mantle boundary.

More information and pictures of the winners can be obtained from the Körber Foundation: dsp(at)

Photos of the ceremony are available from the 24th November, 8 am onwards: / press