The International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) awards the 2018 William Nordberg Medal to Christoph Reigber, the former director of the GFZ Department Geodesy (formerly "Geodesy and Remote Sensing") and professor emeritus of the University of Potsdam. The medal will be presented at the opening ceremony of the 42nd COSPAR Scientific Assembly in Pasadena, California on July 15, 2018.
With this award, named after the Austrian-American physicist and pioneer of the first NASA weather and remote sensing satellites, every two years COSPAR honors a scientist with high merits in the application of space research.
Christoph Reigber played a major role in the development, use and international coordination of satellite techniques for geodesy and geodynamics. For many years, he was president of the COSPAR/IAG Commission CSTG (International Coordination of Space Techniques for Geodesy and Geodynamics) and chair of the boards of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) and the International Global Navigation Satellite Systems Service (IGS) of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG).
Since the 1970’s, Christoph Reigber and his research groups have made decisive contributions to the detailed modeling of the Earth's gravity field. With the later initiatives for the realization of the satellite-to-satellite tracking missions CHAMP and GRACE, he and his team contributed significantly to opening up two novel fields of application for satellite geodesy, which are particularly important for climate research: the monitoring of large-scale mass movements in the geosphere via the observation of temporal changes in the gravity field, and the determination of state variables of the lower atmosphere via the evaluation of GNSS radio-occultation measurements. (rn)