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In Memoriam: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Stieglitz (1965-2023)

EUROfusion deeply mourns the passing of Prof. Dr. Robert Stieglitz, a distinguished member of the Institute of Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology (INR) and the Institute for Applied Thermofluidics (IATF) at Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT). His contributions and presence will be profoundly missed.

Originally published on the KIT website in English and in German

The Institute of Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology (INR) and the Helmholtz Programs FUSION, NUSAFE, ESD and MTET bid farewell to

Professor Dr.-Ing. Robert Stieglitz

who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 6, 2023 at the age of 58. Robert Stieglitz was appointed Director of the Institute of Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology in 2009.

He was a great person and internationally recognized scientist whose in-depth expertise and critical opinion were valued worldwide thanks to his broad knowledge in the areas of fusion research, nuclear technology and renewable energies.

With his friendly approach, his availability and especially his wealth of inspiration, he supported and motivated his colleagues, employees and cooperation partners. Robert Stieglitz was an enthusiastic scientist and university lecturer who enriched research and research-oriented teaching nationally and internationally. He promoted the merging of the KIT Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and large-scale research.

Our sympathy goes out to his family and relatives. We will always honor the memory of our Institute Director and colleague.

It was Professor Stieglitz’s wish that no flowers or wreaths be laid at his grave on his passing, but that a donation may be made to charities such as:

1) Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS):

Purpose: Condolence donation Prof. Dr. Robert Stieglitz, account holder: KIT Foundation, IBAN: DE81 6605 0101 0108 1662 24; BIC: KARSDE66XXX; Sparkasse Karlsruhe<

2) Children’s hospice service:

Purpose: Children’s hospice service, Condolence donation Prof. Dr. Robert Stieglitz, Account holder: Diakonisches Werk Karlsruhe, IBAN: DE03 6605 0101 0108 2061 37, BIC: KARSDE66XXX, Sparkasse Karlsruhe

Donors will receive a donation receipt if their name and address are included in the purpose of the transfer.

Dr. Victor H. Sanchez Espinoza
Deputy Director of the Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology

Dr. Klaus Hesch, Spokesperson KIT Program FUSION

Dr. Walter Tromm, Spokesperson KIT Program NUSAFE

Prof. Dr. Veit Hagenmeyer, Spokesperson KIT Program ESD

Prof. Dr. Jörg Sauer, Spokesperson KIT Program MTET


Tributes from the Fusion Community

Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager:

“It is with great sadness that I learned about the passing away of Robert. Over the years he has given many important contributions to the work of EUROfusion and its predecessor organisations. Robert has shared his great insights with many colleagues. He always did that in a very friendly but at the same time serious way. Colleagues respected him for his vision and opinion. He was always approachable and willing to help. His passing away is a great loss for the fusion community at large. Robert will stay forever in our memories. I wish his family, friends and colleagues much strength in coping with this loss.”

Ambrogio Fasoli:

“Robert Stieglitz was a cornerstone in the realm of fusion technology R&D, especially noted for his significant contributions to the development of the Tritium Breeding Blanket, an essential component of fusion power plants. His expertise and visionary leadership in this crucial field were unparalleled. Robert’s profound insights and guidance, vital in driving forward this challenging area of development, will be deeply missed.”

Gianfranco Federici:

In remembrance of Robert Stieglitz, a distinguished colleague and friend, I reflect on his significant contributions to the field of fusion technology. I had the honour of participating in Robert’s appointment as Head of the Institute for Neutron Physics and Reactor Technology (INR) at the Research Centre of Karlsruhe and as Chair of Fusion Technology and Reactor Engineering (IFR) at the University of Karlsruhe in 2008. His exceptional qualifications and dedication were evident from the start, making him a vital asset to KIT and the European fusion program.

Robert’s role as a key supporter and contributor to the fusion program in Europe over the past decade is undeniable. His efforts to advance KIT and fusion technology were remarkable, and his untimely loss leaves a profound void in the field, felt deeply by his family and colleagues alike.

Renowned for his fairness, gentlemanly demeanour, and generosity, Robert was a true leader, always ready to listen, assist, and take on challenging responsibilities. His wisdom and constructive approach significantly influenced our professional relationship, marked by mutual respect despite occasional differences in opinion.

Robert’s legacy will be deeply missed, and his memory will continue to inspire and guide us. His impact on our lives and the field of fusion technology remains indelible.”

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This story was originally published by our consortium member KIT (Germany).

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