Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lucht
The newly appointed Alexander von Humboldt professor in Sustainability Science at the Department of Geography at the Humboldt University
The special professorship has been established in co-operation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Thereabout the scientist is in charge of one of the four fields of research, “Climate Impact and Vulnerability”, with about 100 members of staff. In 1993 the University of Kiel awarded him a PhD in physics for his research about the interplanetary space.
Afterwards he spent 5 years in the US, where he worked as a directive scientific officer at the University of Boston, namely at the Department of Geography and Centre for Remote Sensing. He has been involved in the development of the environment satellite MODIS of the NASA. In 1999 Lucht came to PIK where he has been the director of the research team on global biosphere and later on the research field of earth system analysis.
Current Research Topic:
Wolfgang Lucht is particularly interested in the subject of sustainability with its aspects climate change, land use, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. He is convinced: man-made environmental changes in the recent history of the planet are unprecedented and won’t only just exacerbate in the 21st century, but also take a completely new dimension facing the estimated world population of 9 billion people in 2050 and increasing material prosperity.
Is there a way out of this dead-end without precipitating a civil crisis and industrialising land use world wide? If yes, how is this possible? What has to happen? These are the central research question of the 45-year old professor. Within his professorship he wants to re-question the principles of sustainability. It is about a better understanding of how the earth‘s transformation is structured by mankind and how the fast-paced negative developments could be absorbed by technical and socio-cultural changes.