Obituary for Professor Vladimir Fortov (23.1.1946 - 29.11.2020)

November 29, 2020

Professor Vladimir Fortov died on 29.11.2020 after a short serious illness. For 20 years, he had been External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), where he supported and shaped in particular the field of plasma physics through numerous cooperations and joint publications. Of particular note are the joint German-Russian research laboratories on the International Space Station (ISS), whose results have decisively advanced basic research into “complex plasmas”. This research has led to many discoveries, bringing great success and pleasure to the scientists, astronauts and cosmonauts involved. A new field - plasma medicine – has emerged from this research, with enormous potential for applications in hygiene and therapy. Another major research interest of Vladimir Fortov was the investigation of the physics and chemistry of extreme states of matter. Without a doubt, he was a world leader in this field.

Professor Fortov also made administrative contributions to research. He was Minister of Science and Technology (1996-1998), Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 1996) and later President (2013-2017) as well as Deputy Head of the National Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO Affairs. Among many honours Professor Fortov received for his unique contributions to research and research funding are the Order of Merit 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany, the legion d'honneur of France and the Queen Victoria Commemorative Medal, “for maintaining traditional values of virtue, bravery and integrity”. Among his 12 honorary doctorates awarded in the course of his distinguished career are those of the University of Rostock and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt.

Together with his family, we mourn the passing of a good friend and outstanding scientist and person.

Gregor Morfill

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