Professor Aksel Wiin-Nielsen, the first Director at ECMWF, sadly passed away on Monday, 26 April 2010. He was instrumental in the Centre's success.
A Danish national, Professor Wiin-Nielsen was ECMWF’s first Director from I January 1974 to 31 December 1979. He put ECMWF on track to become a world leader in global Numerical Weather Prediction. On leaving ECMWF Aksel became WMO Secretary-General in 1980, and then Director of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) in 1984. In that function, Aksel returned to ECMWF to attend sessions of the ECMWF Council, representing Denmark. He served as President of the ECMWF Council in 1987. He became Professor of Physics at the University of Copenhagen in 1987, and in 1995, Professor Emeritus of the University. He continued his research interests well after his retirement. During his long career Aksel received many international awards.
Staff at ECMWF are enormously grateful for Aksel’s vision and leadership in setting up ECMWF. His fine legacy lives on and the firm foundation that he established has made a major factor in the Centre’s continuing success. There is no doubt that a large part of the credit for the success of ECMWF as a world-renowned scientific research and operational institution is due to the initial leadership of Aksel Wiin-Nielsen.
The current Director, Dominique Marbouty, represented ECMWF at the funeral in Denmark on 4 May, which was also attended by WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, and the Director General of EUMETSAT, Lars Prahm.