Professor Laike Mariam Asfaw, honored geophysicist and mentor of Addis Ababa University, passed away following an accident on Thursday, March 19 th , 2020. He was a renowned seismologist at the Geophysical Observatory of Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) which is now transformed to be the Institute of Geophysics Space Science and Astronomy. Prof. Laike graduated from H.S.I.U where he received a BSc degree (1968). He did his MSc degree (1971) and Ph.D. degree (1973) at the University of Liverpool.
He became the director of the Geophysical Observatory (GEOBS) at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, in 1978 and held the position till 2008. Laike saved the observatory from some turbulent occasions of the socialist era in Ethiopia and made the institute an excellent research hub by creating a welcoming and accommodative atmosphere for earth scientists. He published over 60 papers in internationally reputed journals where his main focus was seismicity and seismic hazard.
Laike’s numerous major committee memberships have included the International Association for Seismology and Physics of the Earth’s Interior committee for developing countries, the International Association for Geodesy (IAG) working group on the application of geodetic studies for earthquake prediction, the working group on verification technology for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the International Union for Geodesy and Geophysics/IAG working group on dynamic isostasy.
Prof. Laike Mariam Asfaw was Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society, UK (2007). He was awarded for long outstanding service as Director of the Geophysical Observatory (2007) and the recipient of the American Geophysical Union International Award (2008). He was also member of the American Geophysical Union and Ethiopian Geosciences and Mineral Engineering Association.
He was an African giant when it comes to geophysics and Earth science in general and mentored several young scientists. He will be remembered by his colleagues and students for his selfless and helpful personality who committed himself for over 50 years of institutional service, noble and kind nature.
Atalay Ayele, Addis Ababa University