MLZ is a cooperation between:> Technische Universität München> Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon > Forschungszentrum Jülich
MLZ is a member of:
MLZ on social media:
Ecological reactor physicist
Dr. Wolfgang Waschkowski, who was part of the project management for the construction of the FRM II for many years, has died at the age of 84. He had been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his commitment to the realization of the research neutron source.
Wolfgang Waschkowski at the celebratory event to mark the 10th anniversary of the FRM II. © Wenzel Schürmann, FRM II/ TUM
As has only now become known, Wolfgang Waschkowski passed away on October 2, 2023. Born in Königsberg in East Prussia in 1939, Wolfgang Waschkowski fled to Leverkusen with his family in 1944. After graduating from high school in 1960, he studied mechanical and process engineering for four years. In 1963, he also began studying physics.
Wolfgang Waschkowski’s Diploma thesis in physics in 1965 already dealt with neutrons at the research reactor in Garching. From 1967, he was officially employed at the so-called Atomic Egg, initially in the electronics laboratory and later as head of the measurement laboratory. In 1974, Wolfgang Waschkowski completed his doctorate on the precision measurement of cross-sections. In the course of his scientific career, he has published 46 original publications.
Wolfgang Waschkowski was heavily involved in public relations work. © TUM
Medical applications at the FRM II
Since 1980, Waschkowski has been involved in the construction of the converter facility for tumor therapy at the Atomic Egg. Around 800 cancer patients were irradiated there with fast neutrons. From 1992, Waschkowski was also involved in the construction of the FRM II, initially in public relations work and since 1994 as sub-project manager of a new converter facility at the FRM II to enable medical irradiation here too. “The plans for the medical application of the FRM II are largely thanks to him,” says the longstanding Scientific Director of the FRM II, Prof. Dr. Winfried Petry.
Committed to nature conservation
However, Wolfgang Waschkowski’s passion was not only for reactor physics, but also for nature conservation. “Dr. Wolfgang Waschkowski was an example of how ecological thinking and action can go hand in hand with enthusiasm for nuclear technology,” says Winfried Petry. For example, Waschkowski initiated the twelve hectares of ecological compensation areas at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) on the Mühlbach to the south of the Garching campus for the construction of the research neutron source, the GATE start-up center and the mathematics and computer science building, and was still in charge of them after his retirement.
And that’s not all: Waschkowski was chairman of the Neufahrn chapter of the Bund Naturschutz, district chairman of the Landesbund für Vogelschutz, second chairman of the Landschaftspflegeverband and deputy member of the nature conservation advisory board at the Freising district office.
Wolfgang Waschkowski continued to look after the TUM's compensation area in Garching in his retirement, here in 2011. © FRM II/TUM
Federal Cross of Merit from Hans Zehetmair
Waschkowski has received numerous awards for his services, including the TUM’s Karl Max von Bauernfeind Medal in 2001 for his “commitment at the interface between technology and nature”. In the laudatory speech, it is stated that he was involved “on the one hand as an experimental physicist in the construction of the new FRM II research neutron source in Garching” and “on the other hand as a passionate conservationist in the creation of an ecologically high-quality biotope system as a compensation area”. In 2003, Bavarian Science Minister Hans Zehetmaier presented Waschkowski with the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for his talent in “reconciling scientific know-how on the one hand and nature conservation on the other”. The municipality of Neufahrn bei Freising also awarded him the Silver Citizens’ Medal.
“We are grateful to Wolfgang Waschkowski for his great commitment and will keep him in honorable memory,” says Prof. Dr. Christian Pfleiderer, Scientific Director of the FRM II.