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In Memoriam: Dr. rer. nat. Frithjof Brauer

Frithjof Brauer came to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in the early summer of 2005 to start a PhD project on the topic of the first stages of planet formation. Coming from a background in theoretical physics, he was the right person to tackle the mathematical problem of the evolution of size distributions of solid particles in the gaseous disks surrounding young stars. He turned out to be very succesful in designing new computational methods to overcome various difficulties arising from the huge dynamic range of this problem, which covers over $10^{30}$ orders of magnitude in mass: From sub-micron size dust particles all the way up to kilometer size planetesimals. His breakthroughs in this field made it possible, for the first time, to make models of the evolution of the dust population in protoplanetary disks covering the entire disk spatial range and life time. Models of this kind were highly anticipated and necessary, because in recent years the quality and volume of observational data of such disks taken in the infrared and millimeter wavelength rates has grown dramatically, yet no good models of dust evolution were available yet to interpret these data. Frithjof Brauer's models filled that gap, and his work thus has quickly become highly cited. Much of the theoretical dust evolution research that is currently being done at the MPIA is fundamentally based on his groundbreaking work. Early 2009 he defended his thesis summa cum laude. He received the Ernst Patzer Prize for his main paper, and was awarded the MPG Reimar Lüst Fellowship which allowed him to continue his research for 2 more years as a postdoc.

Unfortunately, already during his PhD project he became gravely ill with cancer. In spite of the gruelling treatment and gloomy perspective, Frithjof Brauer kept on going, writing an impressive thesis, and keeping his sense of humour and will for life. But at last, on September 19, 2009, he lost the battle. He passed away at the age of 29.

We remember him as a person of great warmth, who, even during his illness, was always willing to help others. He had a broad range of interests, and it was always a pleasure to discuss with him issues such as philosophy, music and science in general. He had a passion and great talent for piano playing, often improvising beautiful music as he went along. Most importantly, it was a great pleasure to hang out with him. He is very much missed. Frithjof Brauer still had lots of plans for his future, but life was too short.

Verantwortlich: Cornelis Petrus Dullemond, letzte Änderung am 12.06.2019 18:25 CEST
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