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Mourning for FRM II project manager Anton Axmann
At the groundbreaking ceremony in 1996 with (from right) Garching Mayor Helmut Karl, Science Minister Hans Zehetmair, Minister President Edmund Stoiber, TUM President Prof. Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann and District Administrator Heiner Janik, Anton Axmann (first from left) was also present. © FRM II / TUM
At the age of 85, Dr. Anton Axmann passed away on August 30, 2022. Under his guidance, the construction permits for the research reactor were issued and the buildings were constructed. As an enthusiastic nuclear engineer, he ensured the optimal alignment of the beam tubes, a cold source with a particularly high neutron flux, and a hot source to expand the range of applications.
Companions, such as the long-time Scientific Director of FRM II and MLZ, Prof. Dr. Winfried Petry, describe him as a “man of action”. Axmann’s reputation preceded him when the Süddeutsche Zeitung ran the headline on July 1, 1995: “The man for the reactor – Munich TU brings Anton Axmann from Berlin”. A physicist by training, he headed the electronics, instrument control computing and neutron detector groups at the French research reactor Institut Laue-Langevin from 1969 to 1974. He then learned his trade as a project manager during the complete reconstruction of the Berlin research reactor BER II and was initially deputed from the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin to the Technical University of Munich in 1995.
More flux for the cold source
In Garching, they were waiting for the first partial construction permit for FRM II. When it arrived in 1996 and the excavators started rolling, Anton Axmann was officially hired. “As befits his hands-on nature, Mr. Axmann had already left his first clear mark on the project by this time,” Winfried Petry recalls. The cold source had to get even closer to the core to produce even higher cold neutron flux, and a hot source was necessary to widen the scope of possible experiments.
Each beam tube individually aligned
In the seven years until his retirement, Axmann, who grew up on the Saale River, achieved many more tasks. Much to the delight of the neutron user community, but not always to that of the general contractor, he had each individual beam tube aligned quite late in the construction phase and each of them individually adapted to the scientific application. Winfried Petry also attributes the fact that the second partial construction permit was granted as early as 1997 to Anton Axmann’s “efficiently conducted discussions”. Approval for commissioning did not come until a year after his retirement. Stricken by a serious illness, Axmann continued to travel from Berlin to events in Garching. Dr. Anton Axmann will be buried in Berlin on Thursday, September 22.