Obituary on Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann (08.04.1939 - 11.02.2015)

Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann

Prof. Bormann, Seismology workshop Costa Rica, 2008 (photo: GFZ).

On 11 February 2015, Prof. Dr. Peter Bormann passed away at the age of 75 after a period of serious illness. Since the initial founding of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Prof. Bormann was our highly esteemed colleague who worked as a geophysicist and seismologist over many decades and even after his retirement in 2004.

With Peter Bormann we are losing a most dedicated and excellent scientist who, with his whole personality gave a lifelong commitment to the development of seismology and the training of young scientists and who also rendered outstanding services to the international bodies and the scientific community.

After his studies in geophysics in Freiberg/Saxony, Peter Bormann, serviced, as a seismologist, the Seismological Observatory Moxa near Jena and later took up employment at the Central Institute for Physics of the Earth of the German Democratic Republic in Potsdam, where he was responsible for the establishment and development of earthquake research as well as for the scientific planning of the GDR Antarctic Station Georg Forster. After his transfer to the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences (at that time the GFZ Potsdam) he received further worldwide recognition through the organization and execution of International Training Courses on Earthquake Research and Earthquake Risk – these courses are still continued today.

These courses that were led by Prof. Bormann with his profound knowledge of seismology, his fascinating dedication to the cause and his unique ability to impart knowledge have been invaluable and a great support for the further education and professional career development of generations of seismologists particularly in developing areas.

Again, under the leadership of Peter Bormann, the „New Manual of Observatory Practice“, a textbook for seismological observatories worldwide came into being and this book, today, still holds internationally as one of the most important books for the education of seismologists.

And even as professor emeritus, he made an essential contribution to the fast and precise determination of the magnitude of strong earthquakes. This modern procedure constitutes a breakthrough in Tsunami Early Warning.

We extend our sincere sympathy to his family and relatives. We will cherish fond memories of our colleague Peter Bormann and his scientific legacy.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Reinhard Hüttl            Dr. Stefan Schwartze                   Dr. Holger Schelle 
Scientific Executive Director                  Administrative Executive Director   Chair, Staff Council