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Earth System Research

The Leopoldina member Paul J. Crutzen introduced the term "Anthropocene” in the year 2000. This linguistic innovation expresses the irrefutable fact that since the middle of the 20th century humankind has become a determining planetary force that is just as influential as geological forces and is capable of effecting permanent changes to the Earth system.

In the German science system it is mainly the geosciences that traditionally concern themselves with the Earth system. This discipline has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Atmospheric research, geophysics, geology, biogeochemistry, geodesy, meteorology, microbiology, mineralogy, ecosystems research, remote sensing, paleoclimatology and space exploration are all a part of the geosciences or are at least facets of Earth system research. Earth science has thus become a highly diverse discipline that interfaces with many other departments and is correspondingly fragmented.

The goal of the Earth System Research working group is to designate and analyse the systemic potential and specific problems of transdisciplinary scientific development within the Earth system scientific enterprise and to formulate suggestions for improving the research and educational structures.


  • Prof. Dr. Gerald Haug ML, Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Mainz
  • Prof. Dr. Onno Oncken ML, Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, DeutschesGeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
  • Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber ML, Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung PIK

Members of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Bendix ML, Universität Marburg
  • Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius ML, Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Claußen ML, Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg
  • Prof. Dr. Wilfried Endlicher ML, Humboldt-Universität Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Heiner Igel ML, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lohmann ML, ETH Zürich
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner, Universität Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Schlosser ML, Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Prof. Dr. Friedhelm v. Blanckenburg ML, Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wörner, Universität Göttingen

ML = Member of the Leopoldina




Dr. Christian Anton

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 861
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 839
E-Mail christian.anton @leopoldina.org