Prof. Enrique Grünbaum / 1926-2013
“Prof. Enrique Grünbaum who passed away a few days ago was for me (and for many others here) an elder mentor, a colleague and above all a friend with whom we could always discuss a relevent scientific subject. I met Enrique first in the Israel Vaccum Society meetings during the early 80’s when he served as a president of the society . Enrique, the founder of the outstanding Physical Electronics Department in Tel-Aviv Univeristy and an electron microscopist of great international stature was always the “living spirit” of these meetings, without him they would not have taken place. In those days, the society was a small and not a very significant body in the Israeli academia. His contiguous zeal and his scientific knowledge guided us to make this body gradually the equivalent of the Materials Society of Israel Enrique was always there to help and never missed his Ex-Officio position as member of the organizing committee of the IVS meetings, long after his retirement in the 90’s. These qualities are representative of his public scientific work in general – he was active as well in the plasma society and Israel Society for Microscopy (ISM) and gave freely and generously of his time and efforts to promote scientific interchange and activity.”
“Early on in his career and just before emigrating here from Chile, Enrique published a seminal paper in electron microscopy (Nature 1970). Being a noted electron-microscopist of materials, it was also quite natural for Enrique to take a major share in the evolution of the Israel Society for Microscopy Microscopy (ISM). Again, starting from the early 80’s where the total number of electron microscopes in the entire country probably did not exceed 10, this number has grown to a few hundred today, including those dedicated to both life and materials sciences. Enrique was a proactive member of our community who promoted the cause of electron microscopy particularly in the field of materials science. Many senior members of the international electron microscopy community of the times were close friends of Enrique and by inviting them to the conferences of the ISM he has largely promoted the cause for electron microscopy in this country. His interests took him quite often to conferences in electron microscopy in the UK, Germany and other places, where he continued to explore the latest developments in this field. Upon returning from these conferences we would often sit over a cup of coffee to discuss the latest developments in the field.
I will proceed now to describe our joint scientific work and relations. In 1995 we lost our dear friend and colleague Dr. Lev Margulis, who made several outstanding contributions to materials science using the meager electron microscopy facilities at the WIS of that period. The most outstanding discovery of his was the observation of the first inorganic nanotubes and fullerene-like nanoparticles of WS2 and MoS2 which were synthesized in my laboratory. Having lost an electron microscopist of this magnitude we were left like a flock without the shepherd. I invited Enrique to join our lab and he gladly supervised the departmental students in TEM. Upon my advice, my former student Yaron Rosenfeld-Hacohen tried to synthesize a new kind of nanotubes from the layered compound NiCl2. Working together, the two were able to find first evidence for the formation of these nanotubes. Enrique was very helpful in establishing the contacts with Oxford University Materials Laboratory and we joined forces with John Hutchison- the head of the electron microscopy lab in Oxford and his student Jeremy Sloan. Thus working together we have studied the structure of such nanotubes and could publish this work in Nature. This was the first of a series of studies we carried out jointly with the Oxford group, with Enrique serving as supervisor in these and future works. He remained in this capacity until his last days. His wisdom and knowledge helped me and my students to interpret many of our complex electron microscopy and electron diffraction data which was of key importance to our understanding of inorganic nanotubes.
I will miss him as a person, advisor and mentor to my students.”
.חבל על דאבדין ולא משתכחין
“Enrique had many friends from many different countries and different periods of his life. He loved people and his friends loved him as a person – a mensch as many of them said – and respected him as a scientist of international standing. Enrique was an exception in the ultra-competitive world of modern science. He was completely un-selfish, always more concerned that others would be recognized for their work than he would be for his own. He would always take care that students, technicians, young and senior scientists get the distinctions they deserved, while never boasting of his own accomplishments.”
“Tel Aviv University owes much to Enrique for its standing in key areas such as nano-sciences. Had it not been for his contributions, I doubt that the University would have succeeded in establishing the Wolfson Center for Applied Materials Research, which provided the foundation for the Nano-Science Research Center. I also doubt that the University would have been authorized to establish an undergraduate curriculum in Materials Sciences.
We met in the fall of 1971, when Enrique came on alya from Chili and I from France, both of us having been offered a position by the late Yuval Ne’eman. We discovered that we had a common distant past, both of us having escaped from Germany shortly before the war broke out. May be this helped us to establish instantly a warm and effective relationship. At that time, the University did not provide startup money, which in a way forced us to define very carefully what we wanted to achieve. Enrique was already a well known Electron Microscopist – but he did not receive funds to buy an Electron Microscope, and was barely given access to that in use in the Faculty of Life Sciences. Nevertheless we quickly set out to start a research project of common interest. I was interested in the properties of recently discovered cermet composite thin films made of nanometer size aluminum grains in an oxide matrix. Understanding their special electronic properties required the fundamental knowledge of the grain size distribution. Enrique knew exactly how to do this, using dark field electron microscopy by which one could distinguish from a complex background grains diffracting in certain directions, and thus measure their size.
We started our work thanks to the help of an electron microscopist at Bar Ilan University (Max Herzberg) , who agreed to let Enrique use his microscope. Our work was successful and marked the beginning of modern experimental solid state physics and materials engineering at Tel Aviv University. Our initial publication is still quoted today.
Later we bought together a second hand electron (transmission) microscope that Enrique had located, and finally a scanning electron microscope. We shared lab space in the basement of the Physics building, after arrangements were made between the Deans of the Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering. This was interdisciplinary work before the name became fashionable. There followed many years of intense and fruitful collaboration. Enrique taught electron microscopy to several generations of graduate students. When the time came, two of them (Yossi Lereah and Zahava Barkay) were ready to hold key positions in a Materials Research Center whose establishment I and others proposed to the Wolfson Foundation. This proposal was successful. Later on the Wolfson Applied Materials Research Center, now equipped with modern microscopes, provided a solid foundation for the establishment of the Nano-Sciences Research Center at Tel Aviv University.
But the contributions of Enrique to the development of materials research in Israel go well beyond his work at Tel Aviv University. He was a founding member of the Israel Society for Microscopy and of the Israel Society for Vacuum Sciences. He was entirely dedicated to the development of electron microscopy and materials sciences in Israel, including the establishment of strong links with leading scientists abroad. He kept abreast of recent developments, attending seminars and visiting advanced laboratories broad. His help was very much appreciated at the Weizmann Institute where he spent one day per week in the laboratory of Reshef Tenne.
Enrique often spoke to us of his family, his children and grand-children, of which he was very proud. I wish to express to them our sorrow for the great loss they have suffered. They should know how much his work at Tel Aviv University has been extraordinarily important and successful. We will all miss him dearly.”