Tree of Remembrance and Human Responsibility in the Anthropocene

November 01, 2018

Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, Max Planck Director Ulrich Pöschl and colleagues remember the deceased scientist Abraham Horowitz with a tree planting in the botanical garden of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The Israeli professor was often a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz and worked in the last years of his life on the subject of Anthropocene, the human-dominated geological epoch.

The Botanical Garden was a special place for Abraham Horowitz. He went for a walk there almost every day during his regular stays in Mainz, where he used to work as a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. After his sudden death earlier this year, Max Planck Director Ulrich Pöschl, his emeritus colleague and Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and their wives had the idea to plant a tree in memory of the scientist. The management of the University Botanical Garden welcomed this project. The planting of the American ash took place this Wednesday in the presence of Abraham Horowitz´ widow and daughter, University President Georg Krausch and other colleagues. The tree has been financed with private donations.

Abraham Horowitz was born in Warsaw in 1940 as the son of Jewish parents. Shortly after the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto, the family had to split. This is how they managed to survive the Holocaust. His foster parents rescued Horowitz by presenting him as the son of Muslim Tatar friends. After the end of the war, he reunited with his mother. In 1950 they emigrated to Israel.

Horowitz was a scientist at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center (SNRC) in Yavne, Israel. He worked in the field of reaction kinetics as well as atmospheric and radiation chemistry. At Max Planck Institute for Chemistry he carried out photolysis experiments and investigated the influence of chlorine compounds on the ozone layer.

As an emeritus, he stayed in touch with his friend Paul Crutzen, Ulrich Pöschl and other fellow institute members. One of his favourite subjects of discussion with Crutzen was the Anthropocene. In his last year Horowitz worked on a scientific essay on this subject. For him the Anthropocene was the age of mankind´s responsibility, a warning and a call for immediate action in science and society. His article will soon be published in a book dedicated to the Anthropocene.

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