Obituary for Professor Dr. Günter Petzow - DGM Mourns the Loss of Its Honorary President

With deep sorrow and utmost respect, we say farewell to a remarkable individual, who profoundly shaped the field of materials science for over six decades: Professor Dr. rer. nat. Dr. hc. mult. Günter Petzow. He passed away on February 4th, 2024, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to influence generations of scientists to come.

Born on July 8th, 1926, in Nordhausen during a time of formidable challenges, Günter Petzow dedicated his life to science and education. His unwavering dedication combined with a unique passion and profound understanding of materials positioned him as a trailblazer in his field and an exceptional educator.

With a degree in chemistry from the University of Stuttgart, Günter Petzow laid the foundation for an extraordinary career in which he consistently approached materials science through a scientific lens. Through groundbreaking contributions in powder metallurgy, metallography, thermodynamics, and ceramics, he drove advancements across a wide range of material classes. Delivering numerous invited lectures and publishing hundreds of papers, he left an enduring impact from various perspectives.

At the onset of his career, Günter Petzow became a member of DGM, a family that he nurtured, enjoyed, and actively influenced for over 64 years. He was exceptionally dedicated to DGM, serving as Chairman from 1989 to 1990, leading various specialist committees and training courses, and earning the title of Honorary Member in 1997. In 2014, he was appointed as Honorary President, an award for his enduring commitment and formative achievements within the materials science community. In DGM’s century-long history, only Georg Masing has ever received such an extraordinary honor.

Günter Petzow's remarkable accomplishments have garnered recognition through prestigious awards such as the Honda Prize, the Arthur Burkhardt Prize, the Federal Cross of Merit First Class, the Skaupy Prize, as well as the DGM's Heyn Memorative Medal. Seven honorary doctorates, six honorary professorships, and memberships in esteemed societies bear testimony to his profound impact. His dedication to international collaboration facilitated the global exchange of both young and seasoned scientists, guided by his belief that progress in science thrives through international and interdisciplinary cooperation – an ethos more crucial today than ever.

Beyond his professional achievements, Günter Petzow stood out as an exemplary role model and teacher. A skilled networker, he built bridges within the scientific community, fostering collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. His ability to impart interdisciplinary skills and facilitate communication at all societal levels made him not only a role model but also a cherished mentor, extending his influence far beyond his own professional realm. This blend of professional excellence and compassion has left an enduring mark on the students and colleagues he influenced.

Günter Petzow’s legacy is profoundly embedded in the invaluable contributions he leaves behind a wealth of knowledge that has pushed the boundaries of possibilities in materials science. He leaves behind a national, European, and global community that is open, trusting, and continues to be inspired by his legacy. He will be remembered as not only a great scientist but also a revered teacher and friend.

During this farewell, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family. May they find solace in the knowledge that Prof. Petzow’s life’s work will forever endure, serving as a perennial source of inspiration and guidance for generations of researchers to come.

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Mücklich, and Dr. Stefan Klein

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