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Students and staff pay tribute to Sussex physicist

Prof Wolfgang Lange

Physics staff and students have been paying tribute to Professor Wolfgang Lange, who died suddenly at the beginning of April while travelling home from a conference in Israel.

Professor Lange had been Professor of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics at Sussex since 2004.

Professor Philip Harris, head of the Physics and Astronomy department, says: “Wolfgang was an outstanding experimental physicist and a world-leading figure in his field.

“He was a kind and gentle person, much loved by students and staff alike. He was always ready to put his shoulder to the wheel when help was needed, and he contributed greatly to the friendly face of our department.”

Other staff and students have also paid tribute to their “dearly loved colleague, mentor and friend”.

In an online tribute, Emeritus Professor David Bailin posted: “Wolfgang's wit and good nature will be sorely missed, as well as his brilliance as a physicist, of course.”

Stephen Begley, a research student and associate tutor, wrote: “Wolfgang was not only a supervisor and a mentor but a great friend.

“His spirit of enthusiasm and interest extended not only to his work but to everyone he met and he had the wonderful ability to instantly engage with anyone he met and instil in them a similar zeal and inquisitiveness.

“He had a great love for physics as evidenced not only by his unfaltering commitment to both the subject and the University community, but also in his rare ability to be able to put everything else aside and spend a few hours delving in to a new problem which had arisen in the lab.

“He had an indomitable joy which never failed to provide a fresh motivation or approach for even the most frustrating experimental issues!

“Whenever I am trying to find fresh inspiration or find out why things aren't working as expected I can take a step back and try to imagine how Wolfgang would tackle the problem, as he would undoubtedly prevail through his scientific approach and sheer cheerfulness.”

You can post your memories of Professor Lange via a Facebook group or at another Facebook group that has been set up for both him and fellow Sussex physicist Professor David Axon, who also died last week.

The Physics and Astronomy department have published an obituary of Professor Lange.


Posted on behalf of: Department of Physics and Astronomy
Last updated: Friday, 13 April 2012

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