The Earth is a powerful place. People all across the
Ashamedly, when Google presented the doodle for seismologist Inge Lehmann a month or so ago, I had no idea who she was. After doing barely any research, I instantly knew I should have heard of her before now. If you don’t know who she is then you’re in luck because I’m willing to admit to this educational gap so you don’t have to!
The Early Years
Lehmann was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark by her mother and father. Her father was an experimental psychologist at the University of Copenhagen.
She attended Copenhagen’s first co-educational high school run by Hanna Adler. The school recognised both genders as equal in intellect.
As a child, Lehmann’s aunt would keep cardboard cards inside of oatmeal boxes of earthquake information which in turn fueled her interest in it.
Lehmann completed the Candidatus Magisterii (a specific degree used in Denmark) in physical science and mathematics in two years.
Two years after accepting a job at the Copenhagen University, she became an assistant to Niels Erik Norlund professor of geodetics.
Career and Discovery of Earth’s Core
In 1929, a huge quake happened around New Zealand and Lehmann who at the time referred to herself as “the only Danish seismologist” was puzzled by its shock waves.
She realized that the way the waves came back they would have had to go deep into the core of the Earth and bounce off of something.
Lehmann wrote a paper in 1936 on her theory that the Earth’s core was actually made up of two parts, a softer inner part, and a hard outer shell.
Her theory was later recognized as Lehmann Discontinuity and wasn’t officially confirmed until 1970.
Post Life at University
In 1971, Inge Lehmann received the William Bowie medal which is the highest honor of the American Geophysical Union.
Inge Lehmann lived to be 105 years old.