High honour for Prof. Ulrich Schumann: The former head of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) receives the Ludwig Prandtl Ring. With this award, the German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics (DGLR) honours "outstanding personal achievements in all disciplines of aeronautical sciences". During his time as Director of the Institute (1982-2012) and beyond, Ulrich Schumann has significantly advanced research into aviation and its impact on the atmosphere and climate. The Ludwig Prandtl Ring was awarded during the German Aerospace Congress in Stuttgart.
"Ulrich Schumann is an outstanding scientist to whom the international research community owes a great deal. He has established research on the climate impact of aviation nationally and led it internationally. Today, his work provides an essential scientific basis for shaping the aviation of the future in a climate-friendly way. Ulrich Schumann has been particularly successful as a pioneer in the numerical simulation of flows at high Reynolds numbers and in research into condensation trails, their properties and methods of avoiding them," says Professor Markus Rapp, Director of the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics and Ulrich Schumann's successor in this role.
How must air traffic be designed so that it has a minimum impact on the climate while providing optimum transport? This is one of the central questions in Ulrich Schumann's work, for which he has established major programmes. Since his retirement in 2012, the Institute has continued to pursue this research. It plays a key role in the challenge of making the aviation of the future climate-neutral.
With Ulrich Schumann, the Institute of Atmospheric Physics has studied the effect of thunderstorms on ozone formation. In 2010, staff flew the DLR Falcon into the ash cloud of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjalla to take measurements. The results helped to end airspace closures. DLR has also developed new methods to map the ash cloud using satellites and models. For example, Ulrich Schumann played a leading role in initiating the procurement of the HALO research aircraft. HALO has been used for atmospheric research around the world for more than ten years.
Ulrich Schumann studied mechanical engineering in Berlin, did his doctorate in fluid mechanics and, after his habilitation, concentrated on the development of numerical methods for the calculation of turbulent flows. Turbulence research is still a scientific focus of Ulrich Schumann's work today. At DLR, the focus was on the effects of air traffic - a combination of atmospheric physics and practical applications. How do condensation trails or cirrus clouds (ice clouds) form and what effect do they have on the climate? Ulrich Schumann also advanced research in this area. There have also been many joint projects, for example with the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.