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ASU entomologist receives highest honors in Germany

August 27, 2010

Professor Bert Hölldobler was awarded the Ernst Jünger Prize for Entomology, a prize given once every three years by the government of Württemberg (a state in Germany) in memoriam of the late Ernst Jünger, a great novelist and entomologist. Jünger was a prodigious author who received the Humboldt Society Gold Medal (1981), and Goethe Prize (1982), but was also an internationally recognized beetle enthusiast. His insect collection was reputed to be in excess of 40,000 specimens. The award to Hölldobler was made June 18 at the Schloss (castle/palace) of Baron von Stauffenberg, nestled in southern Germany. Attendees included political dignitaries, local officials, members of the German Science Council and the Von Stauffenberg family, in addition to ASU Foundation Professor, Robert Page, Jr., dean of ASU’s School of Life Sciences. It should be noted that one member of the von Stauffenberg family, Colonel Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, rose to fame when he planted a bomb in Hitler’s bunker in an attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1944. An attempt which failed.

Hölldobler’s groundbreaking work with social insects, most particularly ants, has taken him from Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, French Guiana ,Germany, Finland, Kenya, India, Jamaica, Panama, Sri Lanka to Arizona, Florida, New England, New Mexico and Texas in the United States.

Hölldobler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). He has authored or coauthored more than 300 scientific research papers and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for his book, The Ants, coauthored with Edward O. Wilson. Hölldobler has received a number of international prizes, including the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize of the German Science Foundation (1990); Karl Ritter von Frisch Medal and Science Prize of the German Zoological Society (1996); Körber-Prize for the European Sciences (1996); Benjamin Franklin-Wilhelm v. Humboldt Prize of the German-American Academic Council (1999); Werner Heisenberg-Medal of the Alexander v. Humboldt-Foundation (2003); Alfried - Krupp Wissenschaftspreis (2004); Treviranus-Medal of the German Society of Biologists (2006); and Lichtenberg Medal (2010), the highest honor that the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest academies in Germany, bestows.