Heinrich D. Holland

Heinrich D. Holland

HEINRICH DIETER HOLLAND (1927-2012) Heinrich Dieter ‘Dick’ Holland, who died on 21 May 2012, was responsible for major advances across several fields of geochemistry. He was born on 27 May 1927 and died just short of his 85th birthday. Dick was 19 years old when he graduated from Princeton. After a stint of about a year in the US army with subsequent naturalization, he was drawn to Columbia University to start a career in geochemistry. While Dick was working on his thesis at Columbia, he was recruited in 1950 by Harry Hess, the new chairman of the Princeton geology department, to start a new program in geochemistry at Princeton. Dick ultimately received his PhD in 1952 from Columbia, where he studied the distribution of uranium daughter nuclides in seawater and, to a lesser extent, in sediments, rocks, and minerals as part of an effort to date these materials. At Princeton, Dick was very interested early on in the interactions of the atmosphere, Earth’s surface, and the oceans and history of the atmosphere. Along the way, he also attacked such problems as the distribution of trace elements between aqueous systems (i.e., the ocean) and calcium carbonate, a common deposit of marine organisms, with the hope of using such partitioning as an index of the temperature of precipitation. In the past few years, this work has seen fruition in the study of strontium in corals as temperature indicators of contemporary oceans and has been extended to the past. Dick’s interest in deciphering the history of the oceans and the atmosphere over eons of Earth time resulted in several substantive articles and two fundamental books: The Chemistry of the Atmosphere, Rivers and Oceans (1978) and The Chemical Evolution of the Atmosphere and Oceans (1984). He continued this interest up to his latest days. He wrote a fundamental essay, ‘The geologic history of seawater,’ on the subject in the Treatise on Geochemistry (2003) for which he and I acted as executive editors. We were close to completing the second edition of the treatise before he died. AGU played an important role in both editions of the treatise. The volume editors and the executive editors used get-togethers at AGU Fall Meetings in San Francisco, CA, to gradually bring the treatise to completion. Dick was also one of the earliest explorers of oceanic ridges, searching for hydrothermal activity associated with the expected spreading centers predicted by the geological and geophysical study of these ridges. Dick was president of the Geochemical Society from 1970 to 1971. In 1994, he received the V. M. Goldschmidt Medal and Award, the society’s highest recognition. In 1995, he was awarded the Penrose Gold Medal of the Society of Economic Geologists, and in 1998 he was awarded the Leopold von Buch Medal by the German Geological Society. Dick was a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He retired from Harvard in 2000 but stayed on there, continuing his research until 2006, when he left for Philadelphia, PA, to be close to some members of his family. There he took up the position of visiting research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. On his retirement from Harvard in 2000, a symposium in his honor was held. The participants included many of the people he had influenced during his long career at Princeton and Harvard. Perhaps the greatest recognition for Dick was not the many honors he received from learned societies but the extraordinary achievements of his many students and postdocs for whom he was an enormous influence. Karl K. Turekian, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA (extracted from Eos, Vol. 93, No. 34, 21 August 2012 © 2012 American Geophysical Union)

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