In memory of Dietrich Kramer

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Dietrich Kramer helped shape Theoretical Physics at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena with his far-reaching research and well-loved teaching.

Dietrich was born on May 24, 1939 in Weida/Thuringia and discovered his interest in the sciences early on. He was a student at the University of Jena from 1957 to 1962 and earned his Diplom in Physics with honours. At that time, Prof. Schuetz held experimental physics, Prof. Eckardt Technical Physics, Prof. Schuster and Drs Schmutzer and Weber Theoretical Physics. In 1966, he received his doctorate with a dissertation entitled “Bispinor Fields in Curved Spaces” with Prof. Ernst Schmutzer as his supervisor, whom Dietrich Kramer held in high esteem throughout his life. He then turned his research attention to exact solutions of Einstein’s field equations, a field in which he received international acclaim. The year 1980 was marked by particular success, when he was awarded a prize from the Gravity Research Foundation for the article “Soliton Concept in General Relativity”, was invited to hold a plenary lecture at the GR9 conference, and Cambridge University Press published the monograph “Exact Solutions of Einstein’s Field Equations” that he had co-authored with Stephani, MacCallum and Herlt – still a highly cited standard work.

In 1970, Dietrich Kramer received his habilitation with a thesis on “Invariance Transformations of Exact Vacuum Solutions in General Relativity”, which marked the beginning of his long-standing teaching activities and duties at the Department of Physics in Jena. The long overdue professorship was given to him in 1992 after the German reunification. In the decade that followed, he continued his successful research and teaching career. In addition, he also took on administrative responsibilities such as Director of the Theoretical Physics Institute that was now open to scientists from both sides of the former iron curtain and attracted guests from around the world.

Prof. Dietrich Kramer passed away on August 30, 2016 after a protracted illness. He will be fondly remembered by all his colleagues and students as a deeply caring and dedicated person.

Gernot Neugebauer and Reinhard Meinel