Articles | Volume 28, issue 1
01 May 2009
 | 01 May 2009

The 2008 recipient of the Brady Medal: Professor Katharina von Salis

Daniela N. Schmidt, Jeremy R. Young, Shirley Van Heck, and Jackie Lees


The Brady Medal, the highest award of The Micropalaeontological Society, is given to scientists who have had a major influence on micropalaeontology by means of a substantial body of excellent research and additionally service to the scientific community. It is named in honour of the brothers George and Henry Brady, pioneers of foraminiferal and ostracod research, respectively, both of whose work included landmark studies of material from the Challenger expedition. If the Challenger revolutionized nineteenth century oceanography, then the Glomar Challenger and the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) did the same for twentieth century micropalaeontology and palaeoceanography. So, it is fitting that the second Brady medal should go to one of the great contributors to DSDP microfossil studies, Katharina von Salis Perch-Nielsen.

To use the words of her mother, Katharina is ‘curious, logical, inventive and rebellious, with an extreme sense for justice’. As a researcher, she made outstanding contributions to nannofossil taxonomy, biostratigraphy and palaeobiology. She both carried out an immense body of primary research and synthesized her encyclopaedic knowledge of nannofossils in a series of seminal syntheses, which have provided the basis for subsequent research. Moreover, she played a unique role in encouraging, supporting and facilitating micropalaeontological research and researchers.


Katharina was born in 1940 in Zurich, and was brought up there and in Soglio in Graubünden, a high-Alpine municipality in southeastern Switzerland, and commune of origin of the distinguished von Salis family. Her own branch of the family was characterized by strong women – her grandmother . . .