AwardExpert in the Field of Paleoclimate Research: Honorary Doctorate for Gerald H. Haug

Press Release No. 44/2023
25 April 2023

Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering and Natural Sciences honours researcher as outstanding representative of his research field

As a prominent representative of his research field – reconstructing climatic conditions in the Earth’s history and exploring their causes – Prof. Dr Gerald H. Haug is to receive an honorary doctorate from the Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering and Natural Sciences of Heidelberg University. The Faculty is, in particular, honouring his achievements in paleoclimatology, paleoceanography and Earth system research. Prof. Haug, who has been President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2020, directs the Department of Climate Geochemistry of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. The Rector of Ruperto Carola will award the honorary doctorate during an academic ceremony on 27 April 2023.

Porträt: Gerald H. Haug

In his paleoclimate research, Prof. Haug analyses sediments from oceans and lakes to study how climate conditions controlled the hydrological cycle during the Holocene, that is, the most recent geological past, particularly in the tropics. His second main area of scientific interest is to explore why the Earth’s climate increasingly cooled in the course of the last three million years, leading to the formation of large continental ice sheets in the late Pliocene and during the Quaternary. “Gerald H. Haug has played a leading role in reconstructing the complex connections between climate, changes in ocean current patterns, and fluctuations in atmospheric CO2 on different time scales, and decoding their impact on the development of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere,” emphasises Prof. Dr Johannes Glückler, Dean of the Combined Faculty of Mathematics, Engineering and Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, which belongs to the Combined Faculty and proposed Prof. Haug for the academic honour. 

After graduating in geology at the former University of Karlsruhe in 1995, Gerald H. Haug received his doctorate at the Institute of Geology of Kiel University. He then undertook postdoctoral research at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, in the Oceanography division at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada) and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts (USA). Following that, he worked as Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USA), before transferring to ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in 2000. There he completed a habilitation in earth sciences in 2002. After a professorship at the Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam and the University of Potsdam, he was appointed Professor of Climate Geology at ETH Zurich. Since 2015, Prof. Haug has held a professorship there in climate geochemistry and has also directed a similarly named department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. The climate researcher, geologist and paleoceanographer performs many functions in scientific bodies. He is inter alia a member of the Academia Europaea and in 2007 received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation, the most prestigious research award in Germany. In 2020 he was elected head of the Leopoldina, to which he has belonged since 2012.

Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, will open the academic ceremony to award the honorary doctorate. The laudatory address will be given by Prof. Dr Jörg Pross, Vice-Rector for Research and head of the research group on Palynology and Paleoenvironmental Dynamics at Ruperto Carola’s Institute of Earth Sciences. After the Rector and the Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences have presented the honorary doctoral certificate, the ceremony will conclude with a speech of thanks by the guest of honour.

Note to newsrooms

The academic ceremony on the occasion of the honorary doctorate award to Prof. Dr Gerald H. Haug is taking place on 27 April 2023 in the Great Hall of the Old University, starting at 3 pm. Representatives of the media are warmly invited to attend and report. Registration by email to presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de is requested.