Obituary: Henning Francke

The GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences mourns the passing of Henning Francke.

The GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences mourns the passing of Henning Francke. The scientist from Section 4.8 “Geoenergy” lost his life to cancer on October 19 at the age of 42 years. Henning Francke spoke very openly about his illness and published the detailed circumstances on his personal blog on the Internet. Both Henning’s entries on this platform and the voices of his colleagues show a very humorous, cheerful and optimistic person; a passionate cyclist, climber and swimmer, to name just a few of the sports intensively pursued by Henning even after the amputation of one leg.

Henning Francke studied "Physical Engineering" at the TU Berlin and received his PhD under the supervision of Ernst Huenges, then Section Head at the GFZ and Professor at the TU. In his dissertation, Henning developed a numerical borehole simulator, with which the production of fluids from great depths and their interaction with the borehole environment can be precisely mapped thermodynamically. With his research he has carried out important pioneering work. Henning spent part of his postdoctoral period at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, before returning to the Geoenergy Section at the GFZ.

He continued to be an enthusiastic researcher who, as Ingo Sass, Section Head states, “stood for an important future direction of geoenergy: energy system integration and heat storage in aquifers. Two doctoral students have benefited decisively from his very detailed constructive guidance.”

Henning’s free time was marked by travel, sports, and a lively family life, which he enjoyed sharing with friends and acquaintances via his blog posts. We can only hope that Henning’s family, his relatives and his friends will find comfort in this documentation. The premature passing of Henning also leaves a void at the GFZ.

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