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MLZ mourns Prof. Tasso Springer
Prof. Dr. Tasso Springer while visiting the neutron guide hall west of the FRM II in 2002. © Jürgen Neuhaus / FRM II, TUM
It is with great sadness that we have to report that Emeritus professor Dr. Tasso Springer has recently passed away at the age of 86. He was one of the first students of Prof. Dr. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, in whose honour the FRM II and MLZ are named. Together with his mentor, he discovered and developed the principle of guiding neutrons by mirroring at the atomic egg (neutron guides).
After completing his diploma and doctoral thesis under the guidance of Maier-Leibnitz, Tasso Springer habilitated at the Technical University, Munich, and was appointed professor of experimental physics in 1961. At the age of only 33, he accepted an invitation from Jülich and became one of the first directors of the Institute for Solid State and Neutron Physics. Following a period as an honorary professor in Bonn, Tasso Springer became full professor of experimental physics at RWTH Aachen University. From 1977 to 1982, he continued the tradition of German directors at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France. On his return to Jülich, this native of Munich resumed his position as Director of the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering at the Institute of Solid State Research, and was strongly committed to the expansion of the DIDO reactor with the neutron guide hall ELLA. He continued in Jülich until his retirement in 1996. In his later years Tasso Springer lived in Gräfelfing. He died on the 3rd of March after a short illness, surrounded by his family.
In 1992 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit first class. He also founded the German neutron research committee and was a member of numerous other committees.
The FRM II owes Prof. Tasso Springer a great debt of gratitude, from his “serendipitous” discovery at the atomic egg of the neutron guide, via his involvement in the scientific council and as an advisor to the Bavarian state government, advocating a powerful German neutron source at the TU Munich, through to his position as chairman of the scientific advisory board on the construction of the FRM II.