in memoriam - Eduard Muckenhausen (1907 - 2005)

On 6th February 2005 shortly before his 98th birthday. deceased the Senior Geologist and long-term Director of the Institute of Soil Science at the University of Bonn ( Germany ), the Professor Emeritus for Soil Science.

Eduard Muckenhausen (1907 - 2005)

Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. rer. techn. Dr. h.c. Eduard Muckenhausen

The German and international Soil Science community lost one of their outstanding scientists. Born in the Rhineland, Eduard Muckenhausen started his scientific career with studying geology under supervision of Prof. Hans Cloos in Bonn , where he attained his Dr. phil. degree in 1933. Thereafter, he studied agricultural sciences at the University of Danzig ( Gdansk ), where he received his degree of Dr. rer. techn. under the direction of Prof. Hermann Stremme. In the years of 1934 to 1938 he worked as geologist and soil scientist at the Prussian Geological Survey, Berlin . At this time, he also provided service to the industry as consultant. In 1939 he was removed from the office and became soldier until the end of the 2nd World War.

After his detainment as prisoner of war, he was entrusted with the soil survey as director of the department of soil science at the newly founded Geological Survey of the state NorthRhine-Westphalia in 1946. In this position he was able to revive his ties to Bonn and established a fruitful symbiosis of soil survey and academic teaching at the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn . Since 1947 he acted as lecturer, and he finished his habilitation thesis The German Soil Types According to Modern Soil Classification in 1948. In 1955 he became chairholder of Soil Science in the newly founded Institute of Soil Science at the University of Bonn . Prof. Muckenhausen was member both of the Faculties of Agriculture and of Natural Sciences. In 1964/5, he was dean of the Faculty of Agriculture. He refused later nominations for professorships at the Universities of Kiel and Stuttgart-Hohenheim.

Eduard Muckenhausen was actively involved in re-formation of the German Soil Science Society (DBG) in 1949. His areas of proficiency were soil genesis and soil classification; consequently he was secretary of the working group Soil Classification of the DBG from 1952 to 1989. After being vice president of the DBG (1962 – 1970) he was elected president of this society from 1970 to 1973. He also chaired the working group Paleo-Soils from 1974 to 1980. In the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), Eduard Muckenhausen served as vice president of the commission V (1954 – 1956) and commission VII (1964 – 1966). In the years 1952 to 1972, Eduard Muckenhausen was a collaborator for the development of the FAO Soil Map of the World, as German delegate in the working group Soil Classification and Soil Survey of the United Nations FAO.

Professor Muckenhausen supervised 35 doctorate theses and published more than 100 scientific papers and contributions, among these three books and contributions to several other manuals. His books Major soils of the Federal Republic of Germany (in German, 1957, 1959), Genesis, properties, and classification of soils of the Federal Republic of Germany (in German, 1962, 1977), and Soil science and its Geological, geomorphological, mineralogical, and petrological principles (in German, 1975, 1993) have become renowned reference compendia.

The high reputation as a scientist was acknowledged in several honours, such as example the honour memberships of the German Soil Science Society (DBG, 1977), of the Soviet Soil Science Society (as first German Soil Scientist in 1977), and of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS, 1982). Also the memberships in the Academies of Science of Sweden, Luxemburg , Finland , Belgium , and North Rhine-Westphalia warrant to be mentioned. Furthermore, he was awarded the doctor of honour (Dr. h.c.) of the University of Mainz in 1977.

Eduard Muckenhausen retired in 1975, but was actively involved in scientific and institute activities for years to come. We regret to have lost an outstanding scientist and teacher. His memory will be kept in high esteem.


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Page created: 13.02.2015 | Page updated: 15.02.2015

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