The 2005 Philippe Duchaufour Medal is awarded to Udo Schwertmann for his outstanding research in the field of fundamental and applied soil science, with special emphasis on his contributions to soil mineralogy and genesis.
Udo Schwertmann, born in Stade (Germany) in 1927, conducted important, internationally recognised research work in virtually all fields of soil science from atomic to mineral and to landscape scales. This holds especially for his work on oxidic iron compounds, but he was certainly fascinated by soils as a major component of natural landscapes, i.e. terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as a whole. In this frame especially his work on soil erosion has to be mentioned. During his long and productive career more than 250 original research and review papers even as several books were published, mostly together with colleagues from all over the world. His papers and books emphasise the important role of soils in the functioning of natural and managed ecosystems. Case studies of his research work include iron and aluminium oxides, layer silicates, sulphides, carbonates, soil erosion, biotic factors, soil management, and interactions between organic and inorganic soil components.
From 1964 till 1970 Udo Schwertmann was Head of the Department of Soil Science at the Technische Universität West-Berlin, and from 1970 till 1995 at the Technische Universität München. Although he retired from active service in 1995, he is still involved in many research projects. Udo Schwertmann’s impact on soil research, teaching, and service is based on his cordial and decent personality still provoking enthusiasm for soil science in many students and colleagues.
His work has been honoured by a Doctor honoris causa title of the Universität Kiel, and several scientific awards and honorary memberships of learned societies in and outside Germany.