“GFZ Friends” honours Theresa Hennig and Lei Wang with the “Friedrich-Robert-Helmert Prize 2022”

This year, for the first time, two outstanding young scientists from the GFZ are being honoured with the Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize of the GFZ Friends: Lei Wang and Theresa Hennig.

The Association of Friends and Supporters of the GFZ, in short: GFZ Friends, awarded the Friedrich-Robert-Helmert Prize for outstanding dissertations to two prize winners. This is the first time that two persons receive the award in one year: The theses and achievements of Theresa Hennig and Lei Wang convinced the jury equally.

Theresa Hennig received the prize for her doctoral thesis on “Uranium migration in the Opalinus Clay quantified on the host rock scale with reactive transport simulations”. In her work, she investigated the migration of the radionuclide uranium in the Opalinus Clay, a potential host rock for the storage of radioactive waste. The findings provide an orientation for systems with similar geochemistry and could thus support the search for sites for the final disposal of nuclear materials in Germany. Theresa Hennig received her PhD in Section 3.4 “Fluid System Modeling”. She was supervised by Michael Kühn and defended her thesis summa cum laude at the University of Potsdam.

Lei Wang is honored for his doctoral thesis on “Pressure-dependent mechanical and acoustic properties of porous sandstones and laboratory injection-induced fault slip within porous sandstones”. The jury highlighted his rock-mechanics laboratory investigations of induced seismicity, one of the critical show-stoppers to harnessing geothermal energy. Lei Wang’s research offers solutions to better understand and ultimately mitigate man-made (‘induced’) seismicity that can occur during hydraulic stimulation of geological reservoirs. Lei Wang wrote his PhD thesis in Section 4.2 “Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling”, supervised by Marco Bohnhoff, and defended his thesis summa cum laude at the Free University of Berlin.

The Friedrich Robert Helmert Prize recognizes doctoral students who, through their research activities and scientific achievements, contribute significantly to a better understanding of the Earth system and to the overall success of research at the German Research Center for Geosciences. In addition to the prize money of 1500 euros, the award winners receive a certificate and a one-year honorary membership in the GFZ Friends, the association of friends and supporters of the GFZ. The prize money is not earmarked for any specific purpose.

Further information:

Website of the Association of Friends and Sponsors of the GFZ (GFZ Friends):



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