Born 29 March 1935 in Smolensk – Died 27 September 2023, Moscow, Russia, at the age of 88 Years. Lev is survived by this wife Emma Tigranovna Sarkissian and his son Dmitri.
Lev Pavlovic Vinnik was one of the most outstanding seismologists of our time.
He did his Bachelor of Science at the Moscow State University (1957), his Doctor of Philosophy at the Institute Physics Earth (1966) and his Doctor of Science (Habilitation), at the Institute Physics Earth, both Moscow (1975).
Starting his very varied career as a researcher with the 3d Soviet Antarctic Expedition (1957-1959) this was followed by a position as a researcher at the Institute of Physics of Earth, Moscow (1959-1969) and as a senior scientist at the same institute (1969-1980). In 1980 became director of laboratory there. Starting in the 1980´s he had numerous long term international invitations, at the SZGRF in Erlangen, the Institute de Physique du Globe, Paris, the GFZ Potsdam and the University of California-Berkeley.
During his long scientific career he was recognized internationally by his peers, receiving numerous prices and awards as the Humboldt award of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (1991), the De Beers fellow Bernard Price, at the Institute of Geophysics, Johannesburg, South Africa (1992), was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (1994) and member of the Academia Europaea (1999). He also was awarded the B.B. Golitsyn prize of of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2004), the B. Gutenberg medal of the European Geophysical Society (2004), the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the American Seismological Association (2016) and the Rebeuer Paschwitz Medal of the German Geophysical Society (2017).
Lev has been a pioneer in body-wave seismology for more than 60 years and was well-known for his careful and meticulous data analyses. He also developed several of the fundamental seismological methods for the study of the interior of the Earth and Moon.
Lev began his career by pioneering techniques of data analysis, at a time when analogue seismograms had to be digitized painfully slow by hand (1960´s). With this he studied microseisms, tele-seismic P-waves and surface waves originating from earthquakes and nuclear explosions. In 1969 he postulated a heterogeneous zone at the base of the mantle, a hot topic in geo-sciences more than 50 years later.
In 1977 another mayor methodological contribution of Lev was a technique for the detection of the P-to-S converted phases from the major discontinuities in the mantle, now termed `receiver functions`. This method and its further developments are used by numerous collaborators and colleagues around the world, to determine depths and fine structure of mantle discontinuities.
In 1984 he introduced technique to measure shear wave splitting of the SKS phase and this method is again applied by many colleagues worldwide to study azimuthal anisotropy. One of the mayor results drawn from this by Lev is that recent plate motion effects constitute a major part of continental anisotropy, a result since corroborated by numerous other studies. He then showed in 1989 that the lowermost mantel also exhibits significant anisotropy, a now well excepted and still very actively researched field of geosciences.
Introducing an S-receiver function technique (S-to-P conversions) in 2000 enabled him to discover super deep sub-cratonic low velocity layer in the regions of flood basalts on the moon (2001, 2002).
What makes all these achievements more remarkable was, that his creative method developments and meticulous data analysis came at a time when Lev had much less technical and financial resources than many of his colleagues working in the `West`. As shown above, many of us realized early on that collaborating with Lev was a most fruitful and stimulating endeavor.
I remembering him standing his ground during a heated discussion at EGU, when some colleagues questioned his conclusions based on then sparse data. He looked at his opponents for a long time and then said quietly but forcefully “You have to look closer!”. This advice still holds; and as most of the times, in the end he was right with his conclusions.
Having to flee Moscow as a 6-year old from the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, living through the stalinistic regime and the cold war, the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing difficult times and now the war of Russia against the Ukraine, Lev witnessed the turmoil of our history of almost the last 90 years and despite all this he always remained a truth loving and deeply humanistic friend and scientist to many of us.
Lev will be missed for his friendship and rare ability of combining innovative method development with careful analysis of data and his willingness to share with his colleagues worldwide.
M. Weber and R. Kind