Book of Condolence for Gert G. Wagner

LIFE faculty member Gert G. Wagner, our esteemed colleague, friend, and advisor, has passed away on January 28, 2024, at the age of 71.

His death is an immense loss to the LIFE community, to all those who knew him, and to the study of lifespan development. We miss him.

Gert was among the most active and collegial members of the LIFE Faculty, always helpful and ready to share ideas and propose collaborative studies. He was an economist who loved to work with psychologists because he took a genuine interest in people, be it the ones he worked with or the ones he studied. He was the mastermind of the German Socioeconomic Panel Study (SOEP). He also was a Max Planck Fellow at the MPI for Human Development for many years, participating in the scientific and social life of the Institute.
Ulman Lindenberger, LIFE Speaker Berlin

I am sorry to hear about this great loss. As a LIFE fellow, I have been fortunate to work with Gert for one of my PhD projects, and immensely enriched by his valuable inputs. My heartfelt condolences.
Urmimala Ghose, LIFE Fellow, Berlin

I am very sorry to learn about Gert’s untimely and sudden death. What sad news. It is first and foremost a loss for his family and all who were close to him. But it is also a great loss fo all of us in LIFE, faculty and fellows alike. His perspective as an eminent economist on lifespan research will be sorely missed in LIFE and beyond.
Alexandra M. Freund, LIFE Co-Speaker Zurich

I will never forget when, during my very first academy in Virginia, he beamed with delight after enjoying some fellow contributions that he liked, and after a conversation we had over coffee about the SOEP. He then happily sat at the back of the bus to the hotel, with his phone in hand. He always took pictures of various meals and posted them on Instagram, which led to affectionate amusement among us fellows. His life's work, the SOEP, fascinates me deeply, and the data will lay the foundation for decades of high-quality research.
Andrea Hasl, LIFE Alumna Berlin
This is very sad news about Gert Wagner.  He was a consistent and steady presence at our academies over the years, who along with his students offered an invaluable perspective to our LIFE program.  He will be very missed. My condolences to his family, friends, and his close colleagues.  
Patricia Reuter-Lorenz, LIFE Faculty Michigan
The death of Gert Wagner is an immensely sad event and an immeasurable loss to all of us. With the German Socio-economic panel Gert Wagner established one of the most important longitudinal studies worldwide which is used by scientist from many disciplines. Gert was a highly knowledgeable and helpful colleague. The last time I have met him was in October last year, and he seemed as energetic and active as ever. Too early! Sincere condolences to his family. I will miss him.
Clemens Tesch-Römer, LIFE Co-Speaker Berlin
What sad news and what a significant loss, not only for the LIFE programme. Please pass on my condolences to his family on behalf of the Zurich LIFE members.
Moritz Daum, LIFE Speaker Zurich
Gert Wagner was incredibly supportive of more junior scientists, like myself. The success of our research group is partly due to his open-mindedness to scientific innovation and supportive generosity.
Laurel Raffington, LIFE Faculty Berlin
So sad to learn this. Gert was a significant influence and scholar in MPIB, BASE I & II, SOEP, and LIFE for many decades. Sending heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues at this time.
Jacqui Smith, LIFE Co-Speaker Michigan
Gert, you left us far too soon. LIFE will not be the same without you. Your benevolent manner and your wit will be remembered and continue to accompany us.
Simone Kühn, LIFE Faculty Berlin
Gert was a terrific mentor, always brimming with research ideas and trying to connect the many early career researchers he was supporting. I will miss him a lot and am sending my condolences to his family who lost him much too early.
Julia Rohrer, LIFE Alumna Berlin
It is with deep regret that I have learned of Gert Wagner's passing. His commitment to research and his support as a PhD supervisor at LIFE will always be remembered. May his family and friends find comfort in the memories he leaves behind.
Anita Kottwitz, LIFE Alumna Berlin

It was with deep sadness that I heard of Gert's passing. I always looked forward to meeting him at the LIFE Academies and in Berlin.  We would meet for dinner and have wide ranging conversations. What a wonderful person and brilliant scholar. He will be much missed.
Steven M. Boker, LIFE Speaker Virginia

Gert was such a welcoming and inspiring member of the LIFE faculty. I always, somewhat anxiously, looked forward to his questions and comments on my developing research questions and how to interpret my data during LIFE Academies. Anticipating his comments made me a better scientist and I will always be grateful to him for his dedication to the development of LIFE Fellows.
Kate Ryan Kuhlman, LIFE Alumna Michigan
I was very saddened to hear about the sudden passing of Gert Wagner. As a LIFE fellow, I always admired his enthusiasm, curiosity, and dedication to his life project SOEP. He was always very supportive of us LIFE fellows and also made newer fellows feel included. He would often take the time to come up to our posters and discuss research ideas. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and those close to him.
Tabea Meier, LIFE Alumna Zurich
What sad news and what a loss for all of us. Gert’s contributions to the field of psychology, economics, and lifespan research have left an indelible mark and his presence at LIFE will be greatly missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.
Manuel C. Voelkle, LIFE Faculty Berlin

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Gert, an exceptional scientist, a truly great human being, and an outstanding mentor. Our times together, whether we were brainstorming over research ideas or enjoying dinner, are memories that I will always treasure. I am sending my condolences to his family during this difficult time.
David Richter, LIFE Faculty Berlin


Obituary for Gert G. Wagner from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development

If you would like to share your thoughts on Gert Wagner with us you can send an E-Mail to They will then be published online here.
Go to Editor View