Beno Gutenberg

Beno Gutenberg

Infobox Scientist
name = Beno Gutenberg
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caption = Beno Gutenberg
birth_date = June 4, 1889
birth_place = Darmstadt
death_date = January 25, 1960
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citizenship =
nationality = Germany
ethnicity =
field = seismology
work_institutions = California Institute of Technology
alma_mater = University of Göttingen
doctoral_advisor = Emil Wiechert
doctoral_students =
known_for =
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Beno Gutenberg (June 4, 1889 – January 25, 1960) was a German-born seismologist who made several important contributions to the science. He was a colleague of Charles Francis Richter at the California Institute of Technology and Richter's collaborator in developing the Richter magnitude scale for measuring an earthquake's magnitude.

Gutenberg was born in Darmstadt, Germany and obtained his Doctorate in Physics from University of Göttingen in 1911. His advisor was Emil Wiechert. Gutenberg held positions at the University of Strasbourg which he lost when Strasbourg became French in 1918. After some years where he had to sustain himself with managing his father's soap factory, he obtained in 1926 a junior professorship at University of Frankfurt-am-Main, which was badly paid. Although he was already in the Twenties one of the leading seismologists worldwide, and definitely the leading seismologist in Germany, he was then still dependent on the position in his father's factory. In 1928 the attempt to become the successor of his academic teacher Emil Wiechert in Göttingen failed. There are hints that Gutenbergs Jewish background might have played a role, because already in the Twenties there were strong antisemitic tendencies in German universities (see the article by Leon Knopoff linked below). For similar reasons he was also not accepted for a professorship in Potsdam to become the successor of Gustav Angenheister.

Since Gutenberg did not have any chance to sustain himself solely from his scientific work in Germany, he accepted a position as Professor of Geophysics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena in 1930. Had he obtained a full professorship in Germany, he would have lost it in 1933 anyway, like so many other scientists of jewish ancestry, many of whom emigrated to the United States. Gutenberg, especially in his collaboration with Charles Francis Richter, made Caltech the leading seismological institute worldwide.

Collaborating with Richter, Gutenberg developed a relationship between seismic magnitude and energy, represented in the equation

:! log E(s) = 11.8 + 1.5 M.

This gives the energy E(s) given from earthquakes from seismic waves in ergs. Another famous result known as Gutenberg-Richter law provides probability distribution of earthquakes for given energy.

He also worked on determining the depth of the core-mantle boundary as well as other properties of the interior of the earth.


id = PMID:17756389
publication-date=1960 Apr 1
title=Low-Velocity Layers in the Earth, Ocean, and Atmosphere.
doi = 10.1126/science.131.3405.959

id = PMID:17769434
publication-date=1935 Apr 19
doi = 10.1126/science.81.2103.384

External links

* [ Biography at the American Geophysical Union website]
* [ Leon Knopoff on Gutenberg, National Academy of Science]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beno Gutenberg — (auch: Benno, * 4. Juni 1889 in Darmstadt, Deutschland; † 25. Januar 1960 in Pasadena, USA) war ein deutscher Seismologe, der mit seinem Lebenswerk entscheidend zum heutigen Verständnis des Erdaufbaus beigetragen hat. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Beno Gutenberg — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Beno Gutenberg (4 de junio de 1889 25 de enero de 1960), sismólogo alemán que hizo varias contribuciones importantes a la ciencia, dentro de las que se encuentran: la defición del diámetro del núcleo de la Tierra.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Beno Gutenberg — (4 de junio de 1889 25 de enero de 1960), sismólogo alemán que hizo varias contribuciones importantes a la ciencia. Colega de Charles Francis Richter en el Instituto Tecnológico de California y colaborador en el desarrollo de la escala de Richter …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Beno Gutenberg — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gutenberg. Beno Gutenberg (4 juin 1889 25 janvier 1960) est un géologue et sismologue allemand de la première moitié du XXe siècle. Biographie Cett …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beno Gutenberg Medal — Die Beno Gutenberg Medal ist eine geophysikalische Auszeichnung, die von der European Geosciences Union (EGU) vergeben wird. Die Auszeichnung wurde 1996 durch die European Geophysical Society (EGS) in der Sektion „Geophysik der festen Erde“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Beno — ist die Kurzform des Vornamens Benedikt. Bekannte Namensträger: Beno († nach 1098), schismatischer Kardinal Beno Eckmann (1917 2008), schweizerischer Mathematiker Beno Gutenberg (1889 1960), deutscher Seismologe Beno Lapajne (* 1973),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Gutenberg — * Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400 ndash;1468), inventor of the European technology of printing with movable type *Beno Gutenberg (1889–1960), a German born seismologist * Gutenberg Bible, printed by Johannes Gutenberg circa 1455, 200 copies * The… …   Wikipedia

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  • Gutenberg-Diskontinuität — Die Gutenberg Diskontinuität stellt die Unterkante der Lithosphäre und somit des festen äußeren Bereiches der Erde dar, der in verschiedene tektonische Platten zerbrochen ist. Unterhalb der Lithosphäre befindet sich die Asthenosphäre, die aus… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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