Mourning for Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Specht: Former Scientific Director of GSI passes away


The GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung mourns the loss of its former Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Specht, who passed away in Heidelberg on May 20, 2024 at the age of 87.

Under the scientific leadership of Prof. Specht, from 1992 to 1999, a rich scientific harvest was obtained at the previously commissioned GSI accelerator facilities UNILAC/SIS/ESR, with numerous discoveries and new technological developments.

Professor Specht also played an eminent role in the establishment of tumor therapy with carbon ion beams, based on close cooperation between GSI and the University Radiology Clinic and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. Following successful pilot studies at GSI with approx. 450 patient irradiations, GSI also participated in the construction of the first ion beam clinic with carbon ions in Europe, the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center HIT.

It was also during his term of office that the discussion about the long-term future of the GSI was initiated, which eventually led to the proposal for the international FAIR Center.

With Professor Specht, nuclear and particle physics has not only lost a strong scientific leader, but also an internationally renowned researcher and university teacher. He made outstanding contributions to many fields of nuclear science and played a leading role in the heavy-ion program at CERN. Last but not least, he was mentor for numerous talented researchers in building their own scientific careers.

GSI looks back on his term of office with gratitude and respect and will keep him in honorable memory. (JL)