Obituary for Jiří Bičák

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics mourns the loss of its longtime regular visitor

February 06, 2024

The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) mourns the loss of Jiří Bičák who died unexpectedly on 26 January 2024. Jiří Bičák was one of the leading general relativists of his time, with seminal contributions covering a wide range of topics in general relativity. Jiří's direct contributions to gravitational physics and mathematics, evident in numerous papers, truly showcase his remarkable work.

Beside his expertise proper he was also interested in many other topics, regularly participating in AEI seminars and frequently asking questions, even about topics far from his own research such as string theory and developments in quantum gravity when he was at AEI.

Jiří was a regular visitor to our institute since its very beginnings, not least thanks to a lifelong friendship with Jürgen Ehlers, and remained faithful to AEI for many years. When in Potsdam-Golm, he engaged in numerous collaborations, for instance co-authoring eight papers with Bernd Schmidt with whom he had been collaborating since 1984. Jiří remained an active researcher until the very end – his last paper dates from December 2023, just one month before his death!

We always enjoyed his company and remember many wonderful discussions with him. Jiří was a man of great erudition who was comfortable not just with physics, but many other topics as well, with music a preferred subject of conversation. He loved his home town of Prague, and whoever had the privilege of being invited by him was treated to an expert guided tour through this beautiful city.

We have lost a great friend and an outstanding scientist. Our condolences go to his family and his friends.

Bruce Allen
Alessandra Buonanno
Karsten Danzmann
Guido Müller
Hermann Nicolai
Bernard Schutz
Masaru Shibata

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