Richard Ernst in the 1970


On June 4, 2021, eminent Swiss physical chemist Richard Robert Ernst had passed away on the 88-th year of his life.

Richard Ernst was born on august 14, 1933 in Winterthur, vicinity of Zürich (Swiss).

He enrolled in the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich to study chemistry and received his diploma in 1957 as a Diplomierter Ingenieur Chemiker''. After a break to complete his military service, Ernst earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1962 from ETH Zurich. His dissertation was on nuclear magnetic resonance in the field of physical chemistry.

During the long time he worked in analytic companies, initially in American brand name "Varian" (1962 - 1968) and latter in German brand name "Bruker" since 1969.

Ernst entered Varian Associates as a scientist in 1963 and invented Fourier transform NMR, noise decoupling, and a number of other methods. He returned to ETH Zurich in 1968 and became a lecturer. His career developed to Assistant Professor in 1970, Associate Professor in 1972. Since 1976, Richard R. Ernst was Full Professor of Physical Chemistry.

Ernst led a research group dedicated to magnetic resonance spectroscopy, was the director of the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at the ETH Zurich. He retired in 1998.

Prof. Ernst developed two-dimensional NMR and several novel pulse techniques. He participated in the development of medical magnetic resonance tomography, as well as the NMR structure determination of biopolymers in solution collaborating with Professor Kurt Wüthrich. He also participated in the study of intra-molecular dynamics.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1991 was awarded to Ernst "for his contributions to the development of the methodology of high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy".

Ernst was member of the World Knowledge Dialogue Scientific Board. He was awarded the Marcel Benoist Prize in 1986, the Wolf Prize for Chemistry in 1991, and Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University in 1991. He was also awarded the John Gamble Kirkwood Medal in 1989, the Tadeus Reichstein Medal in 2000 and the Order of the Star of Romania in 2004. He also held Honorary Doctorates from the Technical University of Munich, EPF Lausanne, University of Zurich, University Antwerpen, Babes-Bolyai University, and University Montpellier. For a long time Prof. Ernst maintained good relations with Kazan scientists.

Richard Ernst was a foreign fellow of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Sciences, London, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Korean Academy of Science and Technology and Bangladesh Academy of Sciences. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in 1993.

Prof. Ernst in collaboration with colleagues have published in 1987 the fundamental book with Principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in One and Two Dimensions (R. Ernst, G. Bodenhausen, A. Wokaun), which is a desk book for all students and specialists in magnetic resonance.

Richard R. Ernst has lived a long and fruitful life and will remain in our memory as a brilliant scientist and a wise and kind man.

(The Editorial material was prepared by Prof. Aganov A.V. and Prof. Tagirov M.S.)