Prof. Dr. Erhard Fischer †

Erhard Fischer was one of the founding directors of the MPI for Polymer Research. As director of the polymer physics department from 1983 until his retirement in 1997 he played a major role in building up the Institute. His pioneering work on the folding of macromolecules in crystals made him one of the founding fathers of today’s polymer physics.

Erhard W. Fischer passed away on March 13th, 2011 at the age of 82.

Biographical notes

Erhard W. Fischer was born in Wiederau (Saxony) in 1929. After studying physics and graduating from the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart in 1957, Erhard Fischer joined Professor H. A. Stuart at Mainz University. There he focused his research on polymer physics. After his Habilitation in 1962 he spent several years in the USA and became Associate Professor at the renowned Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1965. Before joining the MPI, he worked from 1966-1983 as professor of physical chemistry at Mainz University as Stuart’s successor. Erhard Fischer’s pioneering work on the folding of macromolecules in crystals made him one of the founding fathers of today’s polymer physics. Throughout his scientific career, Erhard Fischer emphasized the development of new methods for the characterization of structure and dynamics in polymers, such as electron microscopy, X-ray, neutron and light scattering. Using such tools he was able to provide answers to previously unexplored problems, thereby shaping modern understanding of synthetic materials. 

Erhard Fischer was also a great teacher. Throughout his scientific career, he supervised more than 100 PhD students, many of whom are now themselves professors at universities in Germany, Europe and overseas, or hold important positions in industry. At the same time, Erhard Fischer was also an active member in several scientific societies. He was president of the polymer physics division of the German Physical Society (1969-1973) and founding president of the corresponding section in the European Physical Society (1969-75).

His high reputation in the scientific community is manifested through various important national and international awards and prizes he received throughout his career. These include prizes of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, the American Physical Society and the Japanese Society of Polymer Science. Erhard Fischer was also a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Dr. h. c. of the University of San Sebastian in Spain. 

Erhard Fischer died on March 13th, 2011. His interest in the scientific development of our Institute never ceased. We will greatly miss his competent advice and kindheartedness and honor his memory.

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