Luis Alvarez-Gaumé (CERN)

Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 14:05:48 +0200

From: Luis Alvarez-Gaume

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Passing away of Juegen Ehlers

Dear Hermann,

On behalf of the Theory Group at CERN I would like to send his family and colleagues our deepest condolences. It is shocking that he passed away so suddenly. He was a very kind man and and excellent scientist.

Best regards

Luis Alvarez-Gaume

Leader, Theory Division


Reinhard Breuer (Chefredakteur, Spektrum der Wissenschaft)

Betreff: Jürgen Ehlers

Von: Reinhard Breuer
Datum: Wed, 21 May 2008 15:14:40 +0200

An: Susanne Milde, Bernard F. Schutz

Liebe Susanne Milde, lieber Bernie,

neulich bei der Max-Planck-Feier am 26. April habe ich Jürgen Ehlers noch fotografiert, zusammen mit Anton Zeilinger. Vermutlich ist es eines der letzten Aufnahmen von Jürgen.

Ich bin sehr erschüttert, verliere ich doch meinen akademischen Mentor und einen guten Freund.

Besten und traurigen Gruß


Mauro Carfora (Department of Nuclear and Theoretical Physics, University of Pavia)

Von: Mauro Carfora

Datum: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 16:52:41 +0200 (CEST)

An: Anne Lampe

Dear Mrs. Lampe,

I have just received the sad news of Juergen's death. We are all shocked. Please convey to Jurgen's family and to all friends at the Institute our deep sorrow.

With kind regards

Mauro Carfora and Annalisa Marzuoli

Naresh Dadhich (Director of the Inter-University Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics)

Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 10:34:48 +0530 (IST)

From: Naresh Dadhich

To: Anita Ehlers, Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Condolence Message

Dear Anita/Hermann,

On behalf of IUCAA, I would like to send the following Condolence Message which may be read at the gathering at AEI after the funeral.

Juergen was not only a great friend of IUCAA and personal firend of many of us but had of late become a part of IUCAA's extended family as Anita puts it that it was his second home. We had formally also inducted him in the distinguished band of Honorary Fellows. We have all benefitted from him in various ways, listening to his awe-inspiring scholarly lectures, for critical comments in conferences as well as in informal discussions and particularly to his masterful conference summaries. He was a true representative of fast vanishing breed of classical scholars who had equal command on both precision and rigour as well as wider perspective and overall picture.

Undoubtedly he was an outstanding scientist and a remarkable human being who will be missed dearly by many for long. On a personal note, he was my host in 1983 for my first visit to MPA, Garching and immediately thereafter he paid me a return visit at Pune to attend IAGRG meeting, then followed a series of visits through ICGC meetings and GR-15, and so on. I always looked upto his wise and candid advice and guidance on matters academic and otherwise.

With much warmth and reverence we send our deepest condolences to Anita and AEI friends.

In Juergen's memory


Stanley Deser (Emeritus Professor, Department of Physics, Brandeis University)

Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 09:25:26 -0700

From: stanley deser

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Ehlers

No-that was shocking news; i knew his widow a bit in the old days, so convey my condolences if appropriate.


Peter Dunsby (Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town)

Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 15:16:40 +0200

From: Peter Dunsby

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Juergen

Dear Hermann,

I was shocked to hear of Juergen's death. Please accept my deepest sympathies to you and your colleagues.

My work over the years has been strongly influenced and inspired by Juergen. He will be greatly missed.



Reinhard Genzel (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics)

Betreff: Re: Ehlers

Von: Reinhard Genzel

Datum: Sun, 25 May 2008 16:12:09 +0200 (CEST)

An: Bernard F. Schutz

CC: Guenther Hasinger, Hermann Nicolai, Bernard F. Schutz, Ralf Bender, Gregor Morfill


I was shocked by the news indeed also. I am trying to change my schedule to come up to Golm next Friday. Please keep me in touch of arrangements.


Joshua Goldberg (Emeritus Professor, Physics Department, Syracuse University)

Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2008 11:59:01 -0400

From: Joshua Goldberg

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Jurgen

Dear Hermann:

I have known Jurgen Ehlers since around 1957 while he was still a student of Pascual Jordan. It pains me to learn of his death. The last time I saw him was here in Syracuse where he spoke at a memorial meeting honoring Peter Bergmann. Can you send me the snail mail address for Anita. I would like to send her a note of condolance.

Sincerely yours,

Josh Goldberg

Graham Hall (Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Aberdeen)

Date: Wed, 28 May 2008

Prof Juergen Ehlers was a leading relativist and teacher and will be sadly missed. He was always ready to help and encourage me (and many others) and although, due to geographical reasons, I only saw him infrequently, I will personally miss him very much.
I send my condolences to his family.

Graham Hall (Aberdeen).

Günther Hasinger (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics)

Betreff: Ehlers

Von: Guenther Hasinger

Datum: Fri, 23 May 2008 11:58:08 +0200

An: Hermann Nicolai, Bernard F. Schutz
CC: Ralf Bender, Reinhard Genzel, Gregor Morfill

Lieber Hermann, lieber Bernard,

im Namen unseres Instituts möchte ich Euch mein herzlichstes Beileid zum Tod von Jürgen Ehlers aussprechen.

Wir sind völlig überrascht und erschüttert von diesem schrecklichen und endgültigen Ereignis.

Könntet Ihr mir bitte die Adresse von Frau Ehlers schicken, der ich gerne persönlich kondolieren würde.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Günther Hasinger

Marc Henneaux (Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 02:33:22 +0200 (CEST)

From: Henneaux Marc

To: Hermann Nicolai

Sorry to read about the death of Ehlers. It is a page of the history of the Albert-Einstein-Institute that is being turned.



Gerhard Hensler (President of the German Astronomy Society)

Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 14:12:27 +0200

From: Gerhard Hensler

To: Hermann Nicolai

Cc: Anne Lampe

Subject: Re: Juergen Ehlers

Lieber Herr Kollege Nicolai,

vielen Dank für Ihre so traurige Nachricht.

Mit tiefer Trauer hat der Vorstand der Astronomischen Gesellschaft die Nachricht vom Tode unseres hochgeschätzten Kollegen Juergen Ehlers aufgenommen.
Mit ihm verliert nicht nur die Gesellschaft, sondern die deutsche Astronomie einen ihrer herausragendsten und international angesehensten Wissenschaftler und einen stets freundlichen, bescheidenen und hilfsbereiten Kollegen und Freund.

Die Astronomische Gesellschaft wird ihm ein ehrenvolles Andenken bewahren und in seinem Sinne astronomische Wissenschaft und Forschung weiter fördern.

Mit vielen herzlichen Grüssen

Gerhard Hensler

P.S.: Leider kann ich zur Trauerfeier nicht persönlich erscheinen, weil ich gerade erst von einer Panel-Sitzung zurückgekommen bin und die nächsten Kommissionen für nächste Wo. vorbereiten muss.

Bitte richten Sie der Trauergemeinde meine innige Verbundenheit und Teilnahme aus.

Sabine E. Kunst (President of the University of Potsdam)

Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2008 21:23:02 +0200

From: Sabine Kunst

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: AW:

Lieber Herr Nicolai,

Mit großer Betroffenheit habe ich Ihre Nachricht zur Kenntnis genommen. Ich hatte intern arrangiert, dass mein Vorgänger Herr Prof. Loschelder die UP bei der Beerdigung repräsentiert. Ich hätte das gerne noch persönlich mit Ihnen besprochen. Terminlich war einfach nichts zu machen (...)

Einen herzlichen Gruß

Sabine Kunst

Christoph Lehner (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 17:59:31 +0200

From: Christoph Lehner

To: Bernard Schutz

Cc: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Jürgen Ehlers

Dear Bernard,

All of us at the MPIWG were shocked to hear about Jürgen Ehlers's death. It was an utter joy to have him cooperate with us in the quantum history project and in our reading group. Jürgen's original involvement with the project was motivated by his interest in the work of his teacher Pascual Jordan. He quickly became an immensely important member of our group, combining technical expertise in quantum physics with a scrupulous attention to the odd turns of its history, and being a great supporter and mentor in the organization of the project.
He was a brilliant scientist, a thoughtful historian, and a wonderful person.
We will miss him sorely.


Susan Neiman (Director of the Einstein Forum Potsdam)

Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 16:25:39 +0200

From: Susan Neiman

To: Hermann Nicolai

Cc: Matthias Kross, Anne Lampe

Subject: Re: Juergen Ehlers

Lieber Herr Nicolai,

das ist aber eine sehr traurige Nachricht.

Sie erreichen mich leider in Amerika, wo ich auf Vortragsreise bin; ich hoffe sehr, dass Herr Kross die Möglichkeit hat, das Einstein Forum am Freitag zu vertreten. Wir wissen, dass das Einstein Forum ihm viel zu verdanken hat; nicht nur als Wissenschaftler sondern als Mensch, aber der Verlust wird Ihres Instituts wohl am meisten treffen.

Ein herzliches Beileid, und besten Grüssen


Susan Neiman

Edward Seidel (Director of the Center for Computation & Technology, Louisiana State University)

Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 08:15:04 -0500

From: Edward Seidel

To: Hermann Nicolai, B. F. Schutz

Subject: Re: Juergen Ehlers

Dear Hermann, Bernie,

I am so very sad to hear this.

Juergen was very, very good to me, and I will be thinking about him.

Will there be any special arrangements or events planned that I should know about?



Matthias Steinmetz (Director at the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam)

Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 08:50:35 +0200

From: Matthias Steinmetz

To: Bernard F. Schutz, Hermann Nicolai, Gerhard Huisken

Subject: Prof. Juergen Ehlers

Sehr geehrte Kollegen Huisken, Nicolai und Schutz,

Mit grosser Betroffenheit habe ich vom unerwarteten Tod unseres geschaetzten Kollegen und Grundungsdirektor Ihres Instituts, Herrn Prof. Juergen Ehlers, erfahren. Ich moechte Ihnen hiermit, auch im Namen der Mitarbeiter des AIP, meine Anteilnahme an diesem grossen Verlust aussprechen.

Ich hatte 1988-95 selbst das Vergnuegen, am MPI für Astrophysik als Student, Doktorand und spaeter Postdoc taetig zu sein und so unmittelbar das Wirken von Juergen Ehlers als Wissenschaftler zu erleben. Auch war es mir gegoennt, den Enthusiasmus zu erleben, mit dem er die interessanten Zeit nach dem Umbruch 1989 nutzte, um seinen Traum zu verwirklichen: ein Institut, das sich ganz der Erforschung der Gravitation widmet, Ihr Institut, das heutige Albert-Einstein-Institut. Auch hat er massgeblich an der Restrukturierung der Wissenschaftslandschaft im Berlin-Potsdamer Raum beigetragen, wovon das AIP auch heute noch profitiert.

Leider wird es mir heute nachmittag nicht moeglich sein, an der Trauerfeier teilzunehmen, Herr Prof. Strassmeier wird das AIP vertreten. Ich bitte meine Abwesenheit zu entschuldigen.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen


Matthias Steinmetz

Klaus G. Strassmeier (Director at the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam)

Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 10:38:16 +0200

From: K. G. Strassmeier

To: Bernard F Schutz, Gerhard Huisken, Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Ehlers

Hallo alle,

zum plötzlichen Ableben von Herrn Prof. Ehlers möchte ich natürlich auch meine Kondolenz abgeben und plane am Begräbnis teilzunehmen. Gibt es von Ihrere Seite irgendwelche "Pläne"?

Ich verstehe, dass das Begräbnis am Freitag, den 30.5. in Golm stattfindet.

Beste Gruesse,

K l a u s

Kip S. Thorne (Physics Department, California Insitute of Technology)

Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2008 17:55:02 -0700

From: Kip S. Thorne

To: Hermann Nicolai

Cc: Kip S. Thorne

Subject: Juergen Ehlers

Dear Hermann,

I have just seen your announcement of the death of Juergen Ehlers.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences, and please pass them on to Anita.

Juergen was not only a giant in our field, but a wonderful friend who brightened my mood whenever I encountered him. I will miss him greatly.



Clifford M. Will (Department of Physics, Washington University in St. Louis)

Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 16:22:22 -0500
From: Clifford Will

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Re: Juergen Ehlers

Dear Hermann:

Very sad news indeed!


Jeff Winicour (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh)

Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 15:05:24 -0400 (EDT)

From: Jeff Winicour

To: Hermann Nicolai

Subject: Re: Juergen

Dear Hermann,

I was so numbed to hear the news of Juergen that I addressed you as Nicolai and then mistakenly hit the send button before I finished my note. My apologies!

I had wanted to add my appreciation of Juergen's important role throughout my entire career as mentor and as friend to both my wife Susan and myself. Not only did he set the norm for scientfic excellence and scholarship, he did it in the most gracious manner.

I am glad that Susan had the chance to donate his portrait to AEI and hope it will serve to sustain fond memories.

Please do pass this on to his family,


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