32 No. 5
Gerard Rieck, 1911–2010
Gerard Daniel Rieck died 11 May 2010 at the age of 98. He obtained his Master’s Degree in chemistry from the Municipal University of Amsterdam in 1939; during this time he worked as a research assistant for Bijvoet for two years. From 1939–1941 he was a teacher at different high schools, after which he became a research scientist in the laboratory of physical chemistry of the Philips Lighting Division in Eindhoven. In 1945 he became group leader of this laboratory.
With some delay due to the Second World War, he received his doctoral degree from the University of Utrecht in 1945 on the thesis “X-Ray Diffraction Studies of the Crystal Structure of Alpha-Succinic Acid.” From 1949–1959 he worked at the Philips Research Laboratories, mainly on X-ray diffraction studies and metal research. This work resulted in several papers on crystallographic aspects of tungsten crystals and wires and, in 1967, the book entitled Tungsten and its Compounds.
In 1959, Rieck was appointed professor at the chair of physical chemistry of solids at the newly founded Eindhoven University of Technology, a post he occupied until his retirement in 1982. Under his leadership, his research group published many papers on interdiffusion studies of metals, often resulting in new phase diagrams. In these studies, X-ray diffraction was an important tool (e.g., studies of texture-structure relationships in intermetallic diffusion). He liked teaching and illustrated his lectures with carefully prepared experiments.
Rieck performed several functions in the Dutch organization for crystallography (FOMRE). From 1952–1966 he was co-editor of volume III, Physical and Chemical Tables of the International Tables for X-Ray Crystallography; from 1966-1975 he was a member of the teaching Committee of the International Union of Crystallography, and several times he acted as Dutch delegate to the IUPAC General Assembly. Starting in 1963 he was a member of the IUPAC Commission for High Temperatures and Refractory Materials. From 1969–1979 he was secretary of the commission.
He held several positions in the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. Among others, he was dean from 1976 to 1982 and he was a member of the board of the university from 1971–1973. In these positions he showed his managerial capacities.
His favorite sport was Alpine skiing, which he continued until his 90th birthday, proud of being the oldest active Dutch skier.
Gerard Rieck was appointed by her majesty the queen as Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Those who knew him will remember him as a kind and helpful colleague, able organizer, and involved teacher.
last modified 7 September 2010.
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