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An era for the coast

Burkard Baschek will become director at the German Marine Museum in Stralsund

As oceanographer, Prof Burkard Baschek loves and researches the sea and its coasts. He pursued this passion at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon since 2012 as Head of the Institute of Coastal Ocean Dynamics. From “Clockwork Ocean” to artificial penguins, Baschek helped shape coastal research. Now he is leaving Geesthacht for Stralsund, where he will become Scientific Director at the German Marine Museum after the summer.

Portrait of Burkard Baschek

Burkard Baschek's passion has always been the ocean. Photo: Hereon/ Christian Schmid

If you ask Burkard Baschek to name the highlight of his time at Hereon, he can think of many. But if he has to choose, he names the "Expedition Clockwork Ocean" in 2016. With this project, he dedicated himself to a special field. "Together with my team, I was able to observe small ocean eddies from their formation to their decay for the first time in high resolution. For that we used a zeppelin over the Baltic Sea." In addition, there was a very successful science communication with two planetarium films, a mobile planetarium built especially for Hereon, and the use of virtual and augmented reality. In 2018, the project, in collaboration with the center's Communication and Media Department, won the German Prize for Online Communication in the field of science and education. But there are other projects as well: "Recently, I have been particularly fascinated by the MOSES research cruise off Cape Verde and the development of a tow chain and artificial penguins."

New force for marine science

Burkard Baschek is a native of Heidelberg. He studied physics in his hometown. His love of the sea led him to the north, where he added a degree in physical oceanography in Kiel. Baschek earned his doctorate in Canada and spent several years in the USA. At the University of Los Angeles (UCLA), he taught oceanography as assistant professor. At the same time, he conducted research in marine physics – and in particular on ocean eddies, rogue waves, and gas exchange.

In 2012, Burkard Baschek came to the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (today Hereon). There he was leading the Institute of Coastal Ocean Dynamics. At the same time, he was professor at Kiel University (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel /CAU). He will continue to collaborate with CAU. "We are pleased that with Burkard Baschek, a proven expert in coastal ocean observations will remain at CAU in the future," says Professor Simone Fulda, President of the University. Internationally, Burkard Baschek is involved, among other things, as chairman of the international expert council of a "Safe Ocean" for the inaugural events of the UN Decade of Marine Research for Sustainable Development.

From Geesthacht to Stralsund

The position in Stralsund was highly competitive. The Administrative Board of the German Marine Museum decided to fill the position of Scientific Director on the recommendation of a seven-member search committee. Eighty candidates had applied for the post. Baschek is looking forward to his new task: "The German Marine Museum is the ideal institution to combine people's fascination for the sea and public information with innovative marine research and marine technology. This is the basis for contributing to the protection of an increasingly threatened marine environment and demonstrating the possibilities for sustainable use of the oceans and coasts," says Burkard Baschek.

Nevertheless, there is a bit of melancholy about leaving Geesthacht: "I had a good and successful time here at the Helmholtz-Zentrum. I would like to thank the directors Mr. Rehahn and Ms. Simon for their support and trust, but also their predecessors Mr. Kaysser, Mr. Ganß and the administration. In particular, I would like to thank my fantastic team, which was ultimately crucial for the very successful last nine years!"

Scientific Director Professor Matthias Rehahn also thanks Burkard Baschek for his time at Hereon: "He has advanced us with scientific meticulousness and his sense for the right topics and further steps in coastal research. We would have been very happy to keep him with us. We wish him all the best and much success in his new mission."

Further Information


Prof Burkard Baschek Head of the Institute E-mail contact

Institute of Coastal Ocean Dynamics
Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon

Christoph Wöhrle Press Officer

Phone: +49 (0) 4152 87-1648

E-mail contact

Communication and Media
Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon