In memory of Marcus Ansorg (12/18/1970 – 12/02/2016)

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Marcus Ansorg was born in Arnstadt, Thuringia (Germany). After studying physics at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (1990-1994), he obtained a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics at the Queen Mary University in London (1995) and was awarded the “Lionel Cooper Prize in Mathematics”. He completed his Ph.D. work with Gernot Neugebauer in Jena on “Timelike geodesic motions in the general-relativistic gravitational field of a rigidly rotating disk of dust” (1998), for which he received the dissertation prize of the Friedrich Schiller University.

The following years Marcus Ansorg spent at the Institute of Theoretical Physics (Jena, Germany), at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at The Pennsylvania State University (USA), at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, Potsdam, Germany), and at the Helmholtz Center (Munich, Germany). While still in Jena, he developed novel numerical methods for the solution of the Einstein field equations with applications to rotating neutron stars. Marcus Ansorg’s spectral methods involving clever coordinate transformations improved the achievable accuracy by several orders of magnitude over previous methods. A further highlight during these years was his work on initial data for black holes, resulting in one of the most used data sets of its kind in numerical general relativity.

In 2010, Marcus Ansorg returned to the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena as Professor of Theoretical Physics / Theory of Gravitation. He was an enthusiastic lecturer and advisor, and his love of science and his productivity in general relativity remained undiminished. In recent years he successfully applied his numerical methods also in quantum field theory and quantum gravity.

Marcus Ansorg died after a severe illness, which prematurely ended his remarkable life and career. We mourn with his family the loss of a wonderful person and will honor and cherish his memory.

Bernd Bruegmann and Reinhard Meinel