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

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

In memory of Dietrich Kramer

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

Remembering Sergio Dain

By GRG’s Editors in Chief:

It is with profound sadness that we report on the sudden passing away of Professor Sergio Dain, an Associate Editor of the journal General Relativity and Gravitation. He succumbed to cancer on February 24th, 2016. Although only 46, he had already been an internationally recognized relativist for quite some time.

Sergio received his Ph.D. from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina in 1999 for his numerous contributions to asymptotically flat space-times and gravitational radiation. Part of his thesis work was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute – AEI) in Golm, Germany, under the auspices of a Fellowship of the German Academic Exchange Service. In 2000 he returned to AEI as a post-doctoral research scientist in the Mathematical General Relativity group and remained there till 2007. During this period he made a transition to geometric analysis, specializing in elliptic aspects of Einstein’s equations. His very first paper in the area, published as a single author Physical Review Letter, provided a family of initial data representing two spinning black holes. This was followed by a series of papers on conserved quantities in black hole collisions, the close limit approximation, and initial data sets tailored to isolated horizon boundary conditions. He then turned his attention to angular momentum, writing a series of seminal papers establishing inequalities between angular momentum and mass in general relativity. Many of these papers were written after he returned to Cordoba as a faculty member and an independent researcher with CONICET.

These influential contributions were recognized by the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation through an invitation to give a plenary lecture on the subject during the GR20 and Amaldi10 conference, held at Warsaw in 2013, and by the Fields Institute at Toronto, where he gave two invited lectures on the subject in 2015. He was fully engaged in first rate research until the very end. Indeed, his last paper, establishing sharp bounds on the minimum radius of a charged spherical body in general relativity, appeared in Physical Review D on February 23rd, 2016! It not only contains a hard theorem, but also some numerical simulations and a nice discussion of physical implications – a testimony of Sergio’s intellectual breadth.

Sergio was very engaged in the promotion of Science in Argentina at different levels. In particular, he led the Max Planck partner group at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba from 2007 to 2012, where he also organized a series of international conferences. Ten students received their graduate degrees under his supervision and he also mentored 4 post-doctoral researchers. Since January 2014, he served on the Editorial Board of General Relativity and Gravitation. He made important contributions to the journal, remaining active on the Board till the very end. The Board fondly remembers him for his spontaneous sense of humor, his uplifting spirit and his passion for general relativity. The Board and Springer deeply regret that the journal will no longer receive his energetic contributions. We extend our sympathies to his family and many friends.

Abhay Ashtekar
Roy Maartens
(Editors in Chief)

Death of Professor Liao Liu

Liao Liu passed away on Wednesday, 27.4.2016 by 88 years old after a long battle with illness. He is survived by his son and grandson. Liao was a Professor of the Physics Department at Beijing Normal University where he founded one of the few research groups in general relativity and gravitation in China in the late 1970’s. He had been the president of Chinese Society of Gravity and Relativistic Astrophysics from 1989 to 1996. His research was driven by a deep interest in the fundamental physical theories. Many of his papers were devoted to the discussion of the evaporation procedure of black holes, the backreaction of black hole radiation, the production of wormholes, and the significance of spacetime foam for quantum field theory. Messages of condolence will be forwarded to the funeral service committee and the family.

Please send messages to: mayg[AT]

Passing away of Felix Pirani

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that our dear friend Felix Pirani passed away rather unexpectedly but peacefully on 31 December 2015.

Felix made important contributions to General Relativity, which included: independent discovery of the Petrov Classification and its use to give an invariant characterization of the gravitational radiation fields; fundamental work on gravitational waves, in collaboration with Herman Bondi and Ivor Robinson; as well as important work on an axiomatic formulation of GR in collaboration with Jurgen Ehlers and Alfred Schild, in which both the conformal and projective structures of the spacetime and their compatibility conditions are deduced from their axioms.

He will be sorely missed as a much loved father, partner, mentor and friend to many, not least because of his many struggles to make this a better world.

Ted Newman, Abner Solland, John Stachel, Reza Tavakol

Further information on Felix Pirani’s work can be found at:
Gen Relativ Gravit (2012) 44:1581–1586 DOI 10.1007/s10714-012-1352-5 GOLDEN OLDIE EDITORIAL
“Editorial note by Andrzej Trautman to: J. Ehlers, F. A. E. Pirani and A. Schild, The geometry of free fall and light propagation”

Death of Paul Stephen Wesson

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that Paul Stephen Wesson passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep.  His fight over the last twenty years with chronic pancreatitis and diabetes ended the early morning of September 16th 2015 with a heart attack related to this illness.  He was at his home on Gabriola Island that he shared with his partner Pat Lapcevic and their 11 year old son Sterling.  As a father of four, a husband, and as a friend and colleague to many of us, he will be sorely missed.

Andrew Billyard, Bernard Carr, Alan Coley, James Overduin, Sanjeev Seahra, Reza Tavakol

Obituaries for Paul can be found at:

A scientific obituary will be posted on the STM website in January

Death of Herbert Pfister

Herbert Pfister passed away on Wednesday, 16.9.2015 after a short illness. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grand children.

Herbert was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Tuebingen where he established one of the few research groups in general relativity and gravitation in Germany in the early 1980’s. His research was driven by a deep interest in the fundamental aspects of the theory. In that spirit many of his papers were devoted to the discussion of simple models of general relativistic systems from which he drew conclusions concerning the extent to which Machian ideas are realised in general relativity. Another interest of his were the mathematical questions arising in the general relativistic description of stationary
axisymmetric stars.

We are collecting messages of condolence, which will be forwarded to the family. Please send messages to joergf[AT]

Death of Tullio Regge

Tullio Regge, a theoretical and mathematical physicist who made fundamental contributions to science worldwide, died on October 23, 2014, at the age of 83. A longer obituary can be found at

Regge graduated from Turin, Italy, and received his PhD from Rochester, USA. He was at the Max Planck Institute for Physics where he worked with Werner Heisenberg. Then he was appointed to the chair of Relativity at Turin University. He also was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA, and a staff member at CERN. He returned to Italy to Turin University then to Turin Polytecnico.

Regge has worked in and across the two main revolutions in theoretical physics of the last century: general relativity and quantum mechanics.

In quantum mechanics, at the end of the 1950’s Regge proposed a truly innovative theory, using complex angular momenta in scattering theory to describe strong nuclear forces among elementary particles, known as the theory of Regge poles. This led to the model of Veneziano, which in turn promoted the development of String Theory.

In general relativity, in 1961 he proposed a new way to solve Einstein’s equations with his theory of discrete gravity, based on the `discretization’ of spacetime. This theory, known as Regge calculus was the first discrete gauge theory suitable for numerical simulation, and an early relative of lattice gauge theory. He and Ponzano developed a quantum version now known as the Ponzano-Regge model. This was the first of a series of state sum models for quantum gravity known as spin foam models. In mathematics, the model also developed into the Turaev-Viro model, an example of a quantum invariant. While at Princeton, Regge and Wheeler made fundamental contributions to the study of black holes, especially through what is known as the Regge-Wheeler equation.

He also worked on numerous other problems in general relativity, e.g. in quantum constrained systems, in quantum vortices and supergravity, and lower dimensional gravity.

He had many students and collaborators, who gratefully look back to his contributions and keep his memory alive. Italian physics in particular, and world theoretical physics has lost one of its most important characters.

Death of Sotirios Bonanos

We are sorry to inform that Prof. Sotirios Bonanos, passed away on Tuesday, October 1st. He was a fine specialist in algebraic computer calculations and a scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos”. The sad news was given us by his daugther, Alceste Bonanos.

Death of Alex Harvey

I have recently become aware that Alex Harvey had passed away. (I don’t recall an earlier post of this information). I spent a semester at Queens’ in 1991-2 as a Visiting Distinguished Professor on Alex’s invitation. It was a very happy time when, apart from our overlapping interests in relativity, he took time to be my ‘dive buddy’ on the College’s scuba-diving course and introduced me to Thursday sailing races (on a 36ft boat named ‘Moveable Feast’, so not too serious…) at Port Washington. He was an engineer by original training and had, I believe, during his Army career, had a Presidential commendation for work on cryptography in the field (North Africa). Alex wrote a number of useful, if not outstanding, papers over many years, and also kept his friends and acquaintances supplied with frequent humorous emails… I’m sure I’m not the only relativist who will miss him

NY Times. Sept 14

HARVEY–Alexander Dr., noted physics professor dies at 95. Dr. Harvey taught at Queens College for 25 years where he became chairman of the Physics Dept. until his retirement in 1988. He served as an Army Captain during WWII. Dr. Harvey was a visiting scholar at NYU. He continued publishing papers until 2011. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Rhea Harvey, a brother Robert Harvey and nieces Susan Giordano and Mickie Mandel.

Obituary for Mauro Francaviglia

Mauro Francaviglia was born in Torino, on 22 june 1953 and passed away in Cosenza on 24 June 2013. He obtained his degree in Mathematics at the University of Torino in 1975 and he was a Full Professor at the University of Torino. He has held this position since 1980, when he was 27 years old. His scientific interests covered a wide range of topics, including the application of Differential Geometry in Mathematical Physics, Classical Mechanics, General Relativity and Field Theories, Calculus of Variations, Symmetries and Conservation Laws, Quantization and Thermodynamics. Over 300 lectures held at various Institutions in Italy and abroad. He directed several national and international research projects.

Author of over 250 papers, three monographs, 11 encyclopaedia long entries, Editor of 19 volumes of Proceedings and Director of two CIME Courses. He organized 20 national and international conferences, among which several national conferences in General Relativity and the World Conference GR14 in Florence (1995). Member of the Scientific Council of CNR-GNFM (1980-1996). Co-founder (1984) and Managing Editor of “Journal of Geometry and Physics”. Life member of the GRG Society, founder (1990) and President (1990-1996 and 2008-2012) of the Italian Society for General Relativity and Gravitation (SIGRAV), he also served as a member of the Board of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation (GRG) for nine years (1986-1995). Associate Editor of the “Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation” since 1999 and Managing Editor of the “International Journal of Geometrical Methods in Modern Physics”.

Death of Alberto Lobo

Dear colleagues,

It is with our deepest sorrow that we must announce that Prof. José Alberto Lobo Gutierrez passed away yesterday evening. He leaves behind a wife (Rosa Maria), a son (Albert), and a daughter (Montserrat).

Prof. Lobo has been a pioneer of the field of Gravitational Wave Astronomy in Spain, devoting his life to resonant ground-based detectors and to space-based ones. His contributions range from theoretical studies to the development of instrumentation, including data analysis methods. Even in the final stages of his cancer, he has been mainly concerned and actively planning towards maintaining and promoting the Spanish team activities and involvement into LISA PathFinder and its successor mission LISA. The Institut de Ciencies de l’Espai (CSIC-IEEC) will honour such vision and dedication.

Those who had the opportunity to work with Alberto know that he has always been a very close colleague and many times a friend. His dedication to research and to those who work with him has always been complete, transmitting his passion and joy to everybody.

In case you would like to express your condolences to the family, please, send them to gwart[AT], where they will be collected and forwarded to the family.


The LPF/LISA Spanish team
(Lluis Gesa, Ferran Gibert, Victor Hernandez, Nikos Karnesis, Ivan Lloro, Ignacio Mateos, Miquel Nofrarias, Carlos F. Sopuerta, Ulrich Sperhake)

Death of Leonid Grishchuk

Dear Friends,

With deep sadness we inform you that our colleague Leonid Grishchuk passed away in his sleep, on 13 September 2012, 2:25 am, after a brief battle with brain cancer. He leaves behind three daughters: Ekaterina Grishchuk, Alexandra Grishchuk, and Olga Grishchuk. One of us (Sathya) is collecting messages of condolence, which we will forward to them. Please send messages to B.Sathyaprakash[AT]

You can read a brief scientific biography of Leonid at:

Kip Thorne
Malcolm MacCallum
B.S. Sathyaprakash

Death of Franco Pacini, Florence

Dear Colleagues,

I regret having to inform you that Franco Pacini died in Florence.

Just before the discovery of the first pulsar (Hewish et al. 1968), Franco Pacini published a paper in Nature (vol. 216, 1967, p.567) on a possible emission mechanism which could power the Crab nebula. He proposed a rapidly rotating neutron star with a strong magnetic field emitting dipole radiation. After the discovery of the first pulsar, Pacini (1968) and Gold (1968), independently, suggested that pulsars are rotating neutron stars.

Best regards
Ignazio Bombaci

Death of Arthur Komar

Arthur Komar, Ph.D., 80, died Friday evening, June 2, 2011 at Menorah Park. Dr. Komar was the former dean of the Belfer Graduate School of Science at Yeshiva University in New York City; had worked at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC; and was associated with the physics department at Syracuse University. As a student at Princeton University, he had tea with Albert Einstein. Arthur was a true renaissance man in every sense of the word. Survived by his children, Arne (Kelly) Komar and Tanya Komar; his grandchildren; his partner of 50 years, Dr. Alice Honig; and his former wife Dolly (Arnold Honig) Komar-Honig. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Sisskind Funeral Chapel. Friends may visit with the family immediately prior to the service on Tuesday, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the funeral chapel, 3175 E. Genesee Street. Burial will be in the Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas section of Oakwood Cemetery. Sisskind Funeral Service LLC 3175 E. Genesee St. 446-4848

Published in Syracuse Post Standard on June 5, 2011

Prof. Letelier passed away

Prof. Patricio Anibal Letelier Sotomayor, born in Santiago, Chile, on the 11th September, 1943, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at his home in Campinas, SP, Brazil, on Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Prof. Letelier was a highly respected teacher and mentor to an enormous number of people in the country and around the world. He did his undergraduate studies in the University of Chile in the late sixties and obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from Boston University in 1977. He then joined the Department of Physics of the University of Brasilia and, in 1988, he left Brasilia and came to the Department of Applied Mathematics of the University of Campinas as a Professor of Mathematical Physics. Patricio was a beloved friend and colleague, and his passing is a huge loss on so many levels. He will be greatly missed and remembered always. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, and granddaughter.

The website below is a homage to Prof. Patricio Letelier. Please visit it and feel free to express your fond remembrances of him and his work. The remembrances will be collected and passed on to Prof. Letelier’s family.

Alberto Saa
Department of Applied Mathematics,
UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, Brazil.
Phone: +55 19 3521 5952

Death of Brian Edgar

Brian Edgar

Brian Edgar sadly passed away last Thursday June 10th from a stroke. He is survived by a wife, son, daughter and grandson who all live in Linköping, Sweden. Brian worked at the Mathematics Department of Linköping University (LiU). He was born in Northern Ireland and had that marvellous broad Northern Ireland accent which people loved to hear.

Brian finished his PhD under the supervision of Clive Kilmister (who also sadly died about a month ago). Brian was an ‘Effer’, a name given by and to the PhD students who shared the office at room F of the old building of King’s College, on Surrey Street, just above the Aldwych station and the London Roman Bath, from mid 60’s to mid 70’s. That was a very rich period for gravitation physics when we lived under the strong influence of Felix Pirani, Hermann Bondi, Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, William Bonnor, Clive Kilmister among others. This was a rich period when many new ideas on gravitational physics were being created, mostly on its mathematical aspects.

After graduating from Queen’s Belfast, Brian worked in Cameroon and Ghana before his PhD studies and after his PhD exam he went back to work in Ghana. After many years in Ghana he moved to Botswana in 1982. During this time he also in secret supervised a banned ANC activist that later became a South African minister who opened the Durban GR meeting in 2001. He then moved to Linköping in Sweden in 1987, where he and Malcolm Ludvigsen inaugurated and developed the gravitational physics program at LiU. He was the supervisor of several successful PhD students.

One of his characteristics was to help the development of applied mathematics programs in developing countries, a passion that was born during his time in Africa. He was working on a program for collaboration between the Swedish and Brazilian applied mathematical programs, but it was beaten by the slow pace of bureaucracy and shortness of life.

Brian was a classical relativist, in the sense that his works were mainly motivated by geometrical aspects of Riemann geometry in general relativity. Part of his work was devoted to the field of exact solutions and in particular the GHP formalism and generalisations of it. An important outcome of these studies is the Edgar-Ludwig metrics. In the latter period, motivated by the support of Kilmister, he was working with various collaborators on the problem of Lanczos potentials and dimensionally-dependent identities for general relativity. At the time of his passing he was finishing one of such papers. We will miss his scientific enthusiasm, his willingness to help scientists around the world, and above all his always joyful presence.

From all friends of Brian

Death of Clive Kilmister

Clive Kilmister

I regret to have to report that Clive Kilmister died on the second of May 2010. Clive’s Ph D research was carried out at Queen Mary College where the cosmologist George McVittie was his supervisor. From 1950 until he retired in 1984 he spent his academic career in the Mathematics Department at King’s College London. In 1954, Hermann Bondi, Felix Pirani and Clive formed the nucleus of the King’s gravitational theory group, one of the small number of centres that initiated the renaissance of research on general relativity in the 1950’s. At one time Clive was a member of the International Committee on GRG and he was heavily involved in the organisation of the GR4 conference in London.

Clive had broad interests and at various times he was the president of the British Society for the History of Mathematics, the president of the Mathematical Association, and the president of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science. He was also Gresham Professor of Geometry from 1972 until 1988. As well as his research papers Clive wrote about a dozen books, including a number on relativity and classical mechanics. His Ph D research had been related to Eddington’s later work, which is opaque to most, and throughout his career he retained his interest in it. Later in life he and his long-term collaborator Ted Bastin became founding members of the Alternative Natural Philosophy Association. Together they wrote a number of books, the last of which “The Origin of Discrete Particles” was published in 2009.

Clive was noted for his willingness to undertake heavy administrative tasks. These he discharged amiably and efficiently. He was loved by the students and admired and respected by his grateful colleagues.

David Robinson, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics,
Mathematics Department, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK.

Room K4U.22, Fourth floor King’s Building, Strand Campus.
My office telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 2221;
Maths Department Office: +44 (0)20 7848 2828

Death of P. C. Vaidya

Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 09:57:16 +0530
From: aragam prasanna <…>
To: hyperspace[AT]
Subject: PC Vaidya

Dear Malcolm,

I am deeply sad to inform you and the international General Relativity Community of the passing away of Professor P C Vaidya, this morning. He was ailing for sometime in the last year and it finally ended with the cardiac arrest. Kindly put this information in a special bulletin if possible to the GR community.

Yours sincerely


From: Indian Association for General Relativity and Gravitation
Date: Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 2:39 PM
To: iagrg[AT]
Subject: PC Vaidya (March 23, 1918 – March 12, 2010)

Dear IAGRG Member,

It saddens me to convey the news that Professor Prahalad Chunnilal Vaidya passed away on March 12, 2010 in the early hours. He was 92.

Prof Vaidya holds a very special place for the IAGRG community. It was his proposal that lead to the founding of the IAGRG in 1969. He was instrumental in nurturing the IAGRG.

An obituary will be displayed on the IAGRG site:

Ghanashyam Date,
Secretary, IAGRG

Link to the news item: