Press Release No. 44 | 30 October 2013
DFG Mourns the Loss of Professor Eugen Seibold
Former President Dies at the Age of 95
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is mourning the loss of Professor Eugen Seibold. The geologist was president of the DFG from 1980 to 1985. He played an instrumental role in launching the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, and together with his wife he founded the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize for collaboration between researchers in Germany and Japan. "The DFG will honour the memory of its former president, whose foresight, wisdom and dedication have shaped it in a way that continues to this very day," said DFG President Professor Peter Strohschneider. Eugen Seibold was born in Stuttgart on 11 May 1918 and died on 23 October 2013.
Professor Seibold's maxim was "Fördern durch Fordern" (to support by challenging) – a motto he used to summarize his six-year term as head of the DFG. A renowned geoscientist who built up marine research in Germany and helped it to achieve a high international reputation, Eugen Seibold was cosmopolitan. He was dedicated to the internationalisation of German research and the unifying element of cross-border scientific research. As a result, he additionally served as the President of the International Union of Geological Sciences and as Vice President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. From 1984 to 1990, Professor Seibold was President of the European Science Foundation.
Support for early career researchers attracted his especial attention. "Finding and encouraging the most suitable" – for Eugen Seibold that was the recipe for avoiding mediocrity. He also applied this to excellence in science and the humanities. During his tenure he advocated the creation of a generous award to improve the working conditions of outstanding researchers, extend their research opportunities and relieve them of administrative burdens. Since 1985 the now renowned Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Programme has been awarding prize money of up to 2.5 million euros a year to approximately ten outstanding researchers. Professor Seibold also recognised a special responsibility for multi- and interdisciplinary research. He regarded the need to look beyond disciplinary borders as an important prerequisite to solving the major problems of our time.
Eugen Seibold studied geology at the universities of Bonn and Tübingen. He received his doctorate in 1949, followed by his habilitation in 1951. After several years of employment as a docent, he was a professor of general and applied geology at the University of Tübingen from 1953 to 1958. In 1958 he accepted a chair as full professor and director of the Geological-Paleontological Institute at the University of Kiel. His main area of work was marine geology, wherein he focused on the Baltic and North Sea, the Indian Ocean and the seas of Northwest Africa. On many occasions Eugen Seibold was expedition leader on the research vessels Meteor, Valdivia and Sonne as well as the deepwater drillship Glomar Challenger. From 1985 he held honorary professorships at the Tongji University Shanghai and the University of Freiburg.
Professor Seibold received many awards for his services. He was a member and honorary member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in Halle, the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, a corresponding member of various academies of sciences and humanities (in Bavaria, Göttingen, Croatia and Rhineland-Westphalia) and a member of the Académie des Sciences in Paris. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Norwich and the University of Paris. In 1983 he was honoured with the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz (Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany). Professor Seibold's outstanding services to research were recognised by numerous honours. In 1994, Eugen Seibold and the American environmentalist Lester Brown were jointly awarded the Blue Planet Prize, the world's largest environmental prize, by the Japanese Asahi Glass Foundation. From this prize money, Professor Seibold and his wife, Dr. Ilse Seibold, endowed the DFG with the basis for establishing a fund, the proceeds of which finance the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize, valued at 10,000 euros and awarded once every two years to promote research and understanding between Germany and Japan.
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