Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 8, 79–95, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-8-79-2017
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 8, 79–95, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-8-79-2017

Review article 08 Aug 2017

Review article | 08 Aug 2017

Friedrich Robert Helmert, founder of modern geodesy, on the occasion of the centenary of his death

Johannes Ihde1 and Andreas Reinhold2 Johannes Ihde and Andreas Reinhold
  • 1Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, Richard-Strauss-Allee 11, 60598 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Abstract. Friedrich Robert Helmert died in Potsdam in 1917 at the age of 74 after serving for over 30 years as director of the Royal Prussian Geodetic Institute and of the Central Bureau of the Internationale Erdmessung, the forerunner of today's International Association of Geodesy. He dedicated his life and his scientific career to the field of geodesy. His teachings on theoretical and physical geodesy were incorporated into university curricula around the world and hence into international endeavours to measure planet Earth. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the impact he has had on the development of modern geodesy and on the related sciences.

Short summary
Friedrich Robert Helmert died in Potsdam in 1917. He was, for over 30 years, director of the Royal Prussian Geodetic Institute and of the Central Bureau of the Internationale Erdmessung, today's IAG. He dedicated his life and his scientific career to the field of geodesy. His teachings on theoretical and physical geodesy were incorporated into university curricula around the world and hence into international endeavours to measure planet Earth.