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Konrad H. Fischer

Konrad H. Fischer

October 11, 1929 to May 3, 2016
Konrad H. Fischer, 2015

Konrad H. Fischer Remembered

June 1, 2016 (PO46).  Konrad H. Fischer, a theoretical physicist in areas of magnetism and superconductivity, passed away on May 3, 2016, in Jülich, Germany, after a long struggle with the Parkinson disease.  Konrad was born on October 11th, 1929 in Premnitz, Brandenburg, Germany, and his career was somewhat unusual: he first became a qualified electrician (1950), and then earned a diploma in telecommunications at the Technical University Stuttgart (1955). Eventually, after two years of additional physics studies at Göttingen University, he became a doctoral student at the Technical University (RWTH) Aachen and KFA (now Research Center, FZJ) Jülich. 

In only two years he graduated in theoretical physics with an engineering doctorate. The years 1965 to 1967 he was as an Assistant Prof. at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA, working on superconductivity problems with John Bardeen. The rest of his career, until retiring in 1994, he spent at KFA/FZJ and RWTH, where he earned his venia legendi (habilitation) in 1970 and became APL Professor in 1976. Some of his Ph.D. students became renowned physicists.

While Konrad’s early and late interest included superconductivity, he has been best known for his work on Kondo effect and spin glasses; on the latter, he co-authored a book [1]. His late interest became vortices in high-Tc superconductors [2]. After retiring, he served the superconductivity community for another 15 years as a reviewer of vortex matter papers for Physical Review and Phys. Rev. Letters.

Along with physics of solid state, classical music was Konrad’s life interest and passion, shared with his wife and transmitted to their five children. Both parents and children have been accomplished musicians, on some occasions even performing in public. By those who knew him well, Konrad will be fondly remembered as an extremely kind and helpful colleague, teacher, and advisor.

Alex Braginski for FZJ-PGI colleagues: I thank Mrs. Gertie Fischer, the wife of the deceased, for providing biographic details and reference samples.

[1] K. H. Fischer and J. A. Hertz, Spin Glasses, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991.
[2] K. H. Fischer, “Vortices in high-Tc superconductors”, Superconductivity Review 1, 153-206 (1995); K.H. Fischer and T. Nattermann, “Collective flux creep in high-Tc superconductors“, Phys. Rev. B 43, 12032 (1991).