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It is always a shock when a colleague who is a personal friend dies, and this is especially true when that person is in the prime of his/her life and the death is unexpected. The passing of Prof. Ivo Hümmelgen, Professor of Physics at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) in Brazil, on March 1, 2019, at the age of 55, was totally unexpected and has had an impact on all those who interacted with Ivo during his life.
Prof Hümmelgen obtained his first degree in Physics at the UFPR in Curitiba, before completing his Master’s degree in applied Physics in São Carlos, one of the São Paulo University campuses, in 1987. Thereafter, on a DAAD scholarship, he obtained his PhD degree (1991) at the Georg-August Universität zu Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Wolfgang Schröter. This was followed by two short post-doctoral positions (Gottingen; UFPR) before he joined the staff at the UFPR in 1992.
His interests in the study and development of electronic and optoelectronic organic devices were developed during his early years at UFPR and these led to his studies in electronic transport in polymers for use in organic electronic devices. The formation in 1997 of the ‘‘Group of Organic Optoelectronic Devices’’ (GOOD) with the focus on organic solar cells and memory devices was a natural outcome of his interests. These studies naturally led him into the field of electrochemistry and related phenomena and his involvement with this Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry. Here, he became the topical editor for the journal; he was also a member of the Advisory Board of the International Journal of Electroactive Materials.
During his career, he supervised 19 doctoral theses, published over 150 papers, and was active in many organizations that led to many fruitful personal collaborations throughout the world.
I got to know Ivo when he became the coordinator of the Nanotechnology/Energy area in the trilateral partnership between India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA). This led to a strong link between South Africa (SA) and Brazil, dominated by Ivo’s enthusiasm for research and his breadth of knowledge in electronic devices. Indeed, it was this link that has led much work via technology transfer that goes on in the Chemistry Departments in SA in the area of electronic devices today.
The above few paragraphs give some sense of Ivo, the scientist. But it is Ivo, the person we will always remember. He had a deep commitment to his family and he had many outside interests including bee keeping, playing the clarinet, and traveling. He was a wonderful supervisor to students, a wonderful colleague and was always smiling and full of life. I asked some of the SA post-graduate students to summarize their experiences they had working with Ivo in Brazil and they give a sense of why Ivo will be missed: “I was greatly inspired by his innovative and creative ideas and his unique approach to science and life. He embraced creativity and critical thinking in his students.” “He enjoyed spending time with his students; a very understanding father. One thing that stood out with Prof. Ivo was his charming personality and his good balance of work and rest.” “He was the kind of person who welcomed strangers with open arms and treated them as one of his own.” “I’ll remember him for his kindness, knowledge, work ethic, sense of humor, and his love for Africa.”
We will all miss him.