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First Percival Allen Medal awarded at AEGS

The Allen Medal of AEGS

Geoscientist Editor Ted Nield has presented the first Percival Allen Medal to AEGS stalwart Dr Jens-Dieter Becker-Platen, writes Dawne Riddle in Tallinn.

Geoscientist Online 18 September 2007 

At its meeting in Tallinn, Estonia this week, Ted Nield, Editor of Geoscientist and the GSL representative on the AEGS Executive Committee, presented the very first Percival Allen Medal to the German geologist Dr Jens-Dieter Becker-Platen.  

The citation read:

"Dr Becker-Platen was born on 8 June 1937 and studied geology at the universities of Freiburg and Bonn. He graduated with his diploma in 1965– with a thesis on the “Investigation of Lignite Deposits of Megalopolis, Arcadia, Greece”. His PhD subsequently dealt with “Lithostratigraphic Investigations in Cenozoic Units of SW Anatolia”.

"Since that time all his work has displayed a strong European dimension. In 1968 he joined the Geological Survey of Lower Saxony (NLfB) in Hannover, Germany, (now the State Authority for Mining, Energy and Geology, LBEG). In the Survey he was responsible for many different activities, including environmental geology, hydrogeology, natural raw materials and mapping. From 1992-2002 he was vice President of the Geological Survey of Lower Saxony (NLfB) and the Federal Institute for Geosciences and National Resources (BGR).

"Jens-Dieter Becker-Platen’s career has been largely devoted to supporting bilateral and multilateral activities. He became a familiar figure at international conferences and fostered collaboration between scientists working in governmental and academic institutions as well as industry. Following the political changes in East Germany and the rest of eastern Europe, Dr Becker-Platen was active in rebuilding and strengthening cooperation between geoscientists from east and west. In his capacity as Vice President of the Lower Saxony Geological Survey and BGR, he advised various eastern European and East German states on establishing and modernising their geological surveys to meet the challenges of the changed world in which they now had to operate.

"Dr Becker Platen is a member of various German and international geoscientific societies, including the German Society for Geosciences (DGG), the German Peat Society, the AEGS, and the International Peat Society, of which he became President.

"Unfortunately, Jens-Dieter Becker-Platen is unwell and, sadly, unable to be with us today – a fact that I know grieves him even more that it grieves us. I have known Jens-Dieter since 1998 when I became the AEGS representative of the Geological Society of London; and I know that we, who respect the motives of the its founders during the dark days of the mid 70s when Europe had never seemed more divided since the end of the Second World War - we who hold the AEGS dear - owe Jens-Dieter Becker-Platen an immense debt of gratitude.

"His forceful character and clear-sighted vision have been crucial in renewing AEGS and creating the reinvigorated meetings we now enjoy – as we have here in Tallinn. I personally owe him a debt of friendship, too, for all the many pleasant and convivial times I have spent in his company, in venues all over Europe, enjoying - from time to time – the occasional bottle of wine and of course his favourite trademark cigars.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me enormous pleasure now to hand the AEGS’s first Percival Allen Medal to the AEGS Secretary, Jens-Dieter’s namesake and compatriot, Dr Jens Wiegand. "

The Percival Allen Medal, awarded for outstanding achievement in fostering international relations among geologists was conceived and implemented by Ted Nield.  The medals were struck by the Society's medal makers, Spink (1666).