Dr. Wilfried Schröder, Topical Editor of our journal, passed away on 12 April 2011.
Wilfried Schröder was born on 10 August 1941 in Bremen and received his education at schools in this German “Hansestadt”. He studied mathematics, physics, and geophysics at the Universities of Göttingen, Berlin and Münster and became a highschool teacher (Studienrat). From the very beginning of his studies he got interested in science history. Around 1960 he founded the “Geophysikalische Forschungsstation” in Bremen-Röonnebeck as a one-person business. He undertook observations on noctilucent clouds and aurora, but his main work was the publication of books and scientiﬁc articles on science history. Besides his teaching and scientiﬁc work he started a PHD course and received the doctoral degree from the University of Bremen in 1981 with the dissertation “Disziplingeschichte als wissenschaftliche Selbstreﬂektion der historischen Wissenschaftsforschung”. After an early retirement from his teaching duties he could fully concentrate on his scientiﬁc interests.
These were very widespread, touching almost all ﬁelds of external geophysics history, but mainly auroral research, solar terrestrial relations, geomagnetism, upper atmospheric physics, and noctilucent clouds.
In the 1980s Schröoder became involved in the Interdivisional Commission on History of IAGA (International Association on Geomagnetism and Aeronomy). According to a friend he “constructed” this Commission: “I remember when its sessions had at most 10–20 participants, including the relatives of the speakers. After his great involvement in promoting historical studies, I found that it became eventually embarrassing (we were in Birmingham) realizing that a room with a few hundred seats was insuﬃcient, and several people where listening the session out of the door. This was the result of Wilfried’s promotion!”. The Interdivisional Commission on History of IAGA became the unique real active body dealing with history of Earth sciences within the entire IUGG (International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics), and not only of IAGA. He remained active in this Commission by convening sessions and other organisatorial work until 2005.
In order to publish and circulate scientiﬁc contributions presented at the IAGA and IUGG symposia he founded his own publishing enterprise “Science Edition – Potsdam/Bremen” ﬁnanced mostly with his own money. Many well recognized books were published in this edition, like Das Phäanomen des Polarlichts, 1984; Noctilucent Clouds and Mesosphere: a historical Review, 2007; Natural science, philosophy and religion, 2006; Einstein und die Geophysik, 2004; The aurora in time, 2000; Emil Wiechert: (Physiker, Geophysiker, Wissenschaftsorganisator), 2000; Wege zur Wissenschaft – Gelehrte erzäahlen aus ihrem Leben, 2000.