Willi Dansgaard, a great pioneer of climate research, died on 8 January 2011 at the age of 88. He was born on 30 August 1922 and grew up in the centre of Copenhagen where his parents had an engraving shop. He finished his university degree in physics, mathematics and astronomy in 1947 with a gold medal award for a thesis on X-ray dosimetry at the Biophysics Laboratory of the University of Copenhagen. From 1947 to 1951 he was employed by the Danish Meteorological Institute where he worked in geomagnetism and meteorology. In 1947–1948 he spent a year at the geomagnetic observatory in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland, and this led to a life long affection for that country.
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