OBITUARY – Friedrich Heinrich Begemann (1927-2018)

Friedrich Begemann

Isotope and meteorite researcher Friedrich Begemann died at the age of 90.

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinrich Begemann, former director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, died on 11 May 2018, at the age of 90.

The experimental physicist led the Isotope Cosmology Department at the Institute from 1977 to 1995. He had started working in Mainz in 1957 upon an invitation of Professor Friedrich Paneth (who, at the time, was the director of the Radiochemistry Department).

Friedrich Begemann, who was born on 28 October 1927 in Almena near Hannover, studied Physics at the University of Göttingen from 1947 to 1952. After having obtained his Ph.D. in 1954 in Bern, he focused on the measurement of the tritium distribution in water and in the Earth atmosphere at the University of Chicago.

During his time at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry he addressed the age of meteorites and their chemical and isotopic composition. Furthermore, he investigated the interaction of cosmic radiation with meteorites and the nucleosynthesis of medium-heavy and heavy elements and their isotopes. Friedrich Begemann also analyzed the first moon samples of the Apollo 11 mission in collaboration with Heinrich Wänke.

In 2002 an asteroid was named after Friedrich Begemann who received various awards for his scientific achievements.

The institute mourns the loss of a highly regarded researcher and colleague.