The space scientist Wolfgang Baumjohann (64) has been chosen by the club of Austrian education and scientist journalists as the scientist of the year 2014. The prize has been installed to recognize scientists who endeavor to communicate their work and field of expertise to a broader audience and therefore increase the image of the Austrian scientific community.
In recent months Baumjohann, head of the Graz institute of space research (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, has been lauded for the institute’s participation in the ‘ROSETTA’ comet mission and showcased how to objectively explain Austrian science and technology to the public while keeping it simple, informative and interesting.
To inform the interested public, who in the end finances the greater part of the Austrian research activities and to enthuse young people for research and technology have been stated by Baumjohann as essential motivators for his science to public approach.
The German born physicist and geophysicist became head of the department of experimental space physics of the IWF in 2001 and took over as head of the whole institute in 2004.
Previous laureates include environmental scientist Verena Winiwarter (2013), ecologist Georg Grabherr (2012) and the archeologist Sabine Ladstätter (2011). The award has been established in 1995.