European Seismological Commission

In Memory of Jiří Vaněk

Jiri-VanekJiří Vaněk (8. 8. 1927 – 17. 2. 2018)

 Jiří Vaněk, who passed away in February 2018, was an internationally renowned geophysicist, for years a doyen of Czech seismologists. Born in Prague in 1927, he graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University in Prague in 1950. He belonged to a strong generation of geophysicists and geodesists who stood at the genesis of the Institute of Geophysics of the newly established Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1953 – at the age of only 26. All Jiří’s scientific life was connected with the existence of the Institute.

Jiří’s early scientific interest gradually proceeded towards reliable determination of the earthquake magnitude and culminated in 1983 by a widely respected and used monograph “Earthquake Magnitude in Seismological Practice”, with L. Christoskov and N. V. Kondorskaya, his close international friends, as co-authors. In the late seventies, Jiří was fascinated by the then newly formed theory of lithospheric plates, particularly by its seismological evidence. Together with Václav Hanuš, a structural geologist, and later also with me and some of our students, Jiří has authored several tens of scientific papers explaining some specific features of the Wadati-Benioff zones, relations between seismic and volcanic processes at convergent plate margins, and other seismotectonic phenomena.

 Besides successful basic research, Jiří had been involved in teaching at the Charles University from the very beginning of his career. Among many students influenced by his innovative approach to quickly developing geophysical disciplines were such personalities as Vlastislav Červený (seismic ray theory) and Jiří Zahradník (seismic source modeling). Jiří’s educational skills opened for him a position of associate professor at the Mining Academy in Freiberg, Germany, in 1958-1959, and at the Leipzig University in 1960. Later, Jiří served as the United Nations education expert at the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering in Tokyo in 1970-1971, as a visiting professor at the Universidad Autónoma de México in 1978, and at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador, in 1984.

 Jiří Vaněk is remembered as a cheerful fellow, with a broad cultural scope which included, among other things, passion for philately, excellent knowledge of international cuisine and good wine, as well as appreciation of a good football game. We do miss his relentless positive energy and joy of life.  

Aleš Špičák, co-worker of Jiří Vaněk 1996 – 2017



From the ESC Working Groups:

Visit the website of the newest WG titled Harmonizing Internet Macroseismology in Europe 

Contribute to the Portal of the ESC WG on Communication here

Get to know the website of the FAULT2SHA Working Group and find out forthcoming activities! The WG promotes a new initiative, open to all researchers interested in contributing to discussions on topics that could improve the assessment of seismic hazard.


Find out about the Young Seismologist Training Course here.


What were the past General Assemblies of the ESC like? Find out! Interesting documentation has been made easily accessible.

This list summarizes the files.


Sadly we announce the loss of esteemed and beloved colleagues and friends:

Older obituaries can be found here.