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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lothar Göttsching (1936 - 2018)

The honorary Zellcheming member Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Lothar Göttsching died on September 26th. As the obituary states: "A special person, an outstanding figure, a great researcher and teacher and a good friend has gone from us."

Lothar Göttsching was born in 1936 during the Summer Olympics in Berlin and grew up as the son of a family of musicians in Bad Soden/Taunus. After completing his final secondary-school leaving examination, he studied paper engineering at the Technical University Darmstadt. He worked at the Finnish KCL research institute for five years and then spent the next five years working as Head of Research at Vereinigte Verpackungsgesellschaft in Monheim and gained his doctorate at TU Darmstadt in 1969. In 1971, Lothar Göttsching was appointed as successor to Professor Brecht at the Institut für Papierfabrikation (IfP), where he dedicated himself to the academic training of paper engineers and applied and basic research in the fields of paper technology, paper physics and environmental protection until 2002. Following in the footsteps of Prof. Brecht was not an easy task. High standards were set and there were phases of professional and personal assessment, the effects of which were influential on Lothar Göttsching as a person. During this period, he succeeded in redefining the institute. His own personal style and in particular his open-mindedness contributed to this. He acquitted himself of this task admirably. The institute gained an excellent reputation and was positioned nationally and internationally in an exemplary manner.

Particular areas of focus were the development of the waste water and environmental research centre with fundamental work on the purification of process water in the paper industry and the very broad-based consideration of the subject of recovered paper which became an essential raw material of the paper industry during his career. This gave rise to almost 500 publications, over 250 Diploma degrees and 29 doctorates. Immediately after completing his studies, Lothar Göttsching became a member of Verein ZELLCHEMING and then of many other associations and organisations. Networking and establishing and maintaining contacts were very close to his heart, whereby he focused intensively on relations with Eastern Europe and, of course, maintained good contacts with Finland. His students and employees were able to benefit from this in the course of many excursions and the attendance of conferences. He participated in the development and implementation of the Paper Technology study programme at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University from the conception stage until long after he acquired emeritus status.

Lothar Göttsching received many awards for his commitment in an honorary capacity, including honorary membership of Zellcheming, APV Darmstadt, the Finnish Association of Paper Engineers, admission to the "Paper International Hall of Fame" in the USA and awards as Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of the Republic of Finland, the award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Grenoble and the Order of Merit with ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany being particularly noteworthy. Unfortunately, given his almost continuous work, time for his private sphere, including his interests in music, culture and history, often proved all too short.

Given his profound expertise, his open-mindedness and very broad and deep general knowledge, he was a valued interlocutor and advisor in many circles who had the foresight to put events clearly in context and could put forward his positions and who influenced many developments.

It was a great privilege for us all to engage with Lothar Göttsching over many years in a pleasant and always professionally first-class exchange and to set out on paths together and in a spirit of friendship. His example will continue to have an influence for a long time to come.

(An obituary by Samuel Schabel, Ekhard Beuleke, Udo Hamm & Hans-Joachim Putz)

sbr / 10/08/2018


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