Пенк Альбрехт

Penck Albrecht

German geologist, geographer, oceanographer.
Born in Rojdnice near Leipzig.
From 1885 to 1906, Penk was a professor at the University of Vienna, then, from 1906 to 1927, he was a professor at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University in Berlin.
In 1886, Penk married Ida Ganghofer (1863–1944), the sister of Ludwig Ganghofer, a famous Bavarian writer. Their son Walter Penk became a famous geographer and geomorphologist.
After the death of Ferdinand von Richthofen, in the period 1906-1927, Albrecht Penk was the director of the Geographic Institute at the University of Friedrich-Wilhelm, was a full member of the Moscow Society of Naturalists, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Until 1918, he also directed the Institute and Museum of Oceanography. Penk devoted himself to the study of geomorphology and climatology. Since 1928 he taught at the German University of Karl Ferdinand in Prague.
Penk took the Vienna School of Physical Geography to an international level. Studying the problems of glaciation and geomorphology, Penk worked on expeditions in the mountains of Spain, northern Morocco, Canada, Australia, China, Japan and in several other areas. He was engaged in hydrography of the Danube. He is the author of the pioneering classification of climates. In collaboration with E. Brickner, he developed the concept of ancient glaciation. It was they who proposed to subdivide the ice age into eras: Gunz, Almond, Riss, Wurm. Penck introduced into geomorphology the concept of a “top level of denudation”, believing that the main factors affecting the height of the mountains are: the height of the snow border and the height of the forest border. They determine the rate of denudation and, therefore, in each climate a certain height of the upper level of denudation. Subsequently, he abandoned these ideas and introduced the concept of “vertex surface”, reflecting the fact that the level of the peaks is constant without explaining this phenomenon.
In memory of Penk, the famous German artist and sculptor Ralph Winkler took the pseudonym A.R. Penk.
Penk's students were Serbian geographer Jovan Zviich, Japanese geographer Naomas Yamazaki, French geographer Emmanuel de Marton, Bulgarian geomorphologist Zeko Radev, and Austrian geographer Fritz Makhachek.
He died in Prague.
Glacier in the north of the central part of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya. It was discovered and named in September 1923 by the expedition of the Institute for the Study of the North under the leadership of R.L. Samoilovich.


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