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Picture of Inge Lehmann

Inge Lehmann


Additional Information

Some Important Contributions

Discovered 5121 km below the surface of the earth an inner core. This discovery was based on observations of the reflection and refraction of seismic waves generated by deep focus earthquakes. From Lehmann's discovery of the earth's inner core have come current ideas on th e origin of the earth's magnetic field described by Professor Leon Knopoff, UCLA.

    "The inner core of the earth is now thought to be a solid precipitate of the molten iron/nickel outer core. One popular model has it that the condensation of the inner core is the heat source for driving convective motions in the outer core and hence is a mechanism for generating the earth' magnetic field." --- Leon Knopoff, 1996.
Discovered, at a depth of 220 km below the surface of the earth, the Lehmann discontinuity.

Some Important Publications

" P' ", Union Geodesique at Geophysique Internationale, Serie A, Travaux Scientifiques 14: 87 (1936).

"Velocities of Longitudinal Waves in the Upper Part of the Earth's Mantle", Annales de Geophysique 15: 93 (1959).

"The Travel Times of the Longitudinal Waves of the Logan and Blanca Atomic Explosions and Their Velocities in the Upper Mantle", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 52: 519 (1962).


A founder and chair (1941 and 1944) Danish Geophysical Society
First President of the European Seismological Commission
Associate, Royal Astronomical Society, London
Honorary Fellow, The Royal Society, Edinburgh
Foreign Member, The Royal Society, London
Honorary Member, European Geophysical Society
Member, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
Wiechert Medal, Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft 1964
Doctor of Science, Columbia University, New York 1964
Gold Medal, Royal Danish Academy of Science 1965
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Copenhagen 1968
Bowie Medal, American Geophysical Union 1971
The Medal of the Seismological Society of America 1977

The Lehmann Medal, instituted by the American Geophysical Union in 1997, is to be awarded in recognition of outstanding research on the structure, composition, and dynamics of the Earth's mantle and core. This medal is the first AGU honor to be named for a woman, and the first to be named for a scientist who worked outside the United States. [eos1997mc]


1925 Royal Danish Geodetic Institute

1928-53 Chief of the Seismological Department of the Royal Danish Geodetic Institute


Attended the first co-educational school in Denmark founded by Hanna Adler, aunt of Niels Bohr.

University of Copenhagen 1907-10
M.S. (mathematics) University of Copenhagen 1920
M.S. (geodesy) University of Copenhagen 1928


[bssa1994bb], [1 CLH], [1S N20], [27 LDO], [eos1997mc], [bmfrs1997bb]

Additional Information/Comments

Denmark's only seismologist for two decades.

Niles Groes, her nephew , wrote:

Reminiscences of Inge Lehmann by Lady Jeffreys.

Recommended Reading

INGE LEHMANN by Bruce Bolt     (biographical memoir from Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 1997)

Field Editor: Professor Leon Knopoff


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latest revision {4/30/97 mjw} 3/16/01 nb