In memoriam: Diethelm Würtz


Recently Professor Diethelm Würtz at the Institute for Theoretical Physics tragically passed away. Here we wish to remember him and pay tribute to his long-term contributions to our community at ETH.

Recently we became aware of a very tragic occurrence: Prof. Diethelm Würtz, a senior member of the Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) at ETH Zürich and his wife Barbara have tragically passed away in a car accident.

We would like to pay tribute to one of the early pioneers of computational physics at ETH Zürich.

Late Professor for Theoretical Physics Diethelm Würtz

Prof. Würtz, a mathematician and physicist by training, earned his PhD in Physics in 1978 from the University of Marburg, after which he would move to conduct postdoctoral research at IBM research and later became assistant professor at the University of Heidelberg in 1984. He joined the Computer Center ETH Zürich (RZETH) in 1988, a time when a major effort towards the development of high performance supercomputing was taking place at ETH Zürich.

He was always very active in research and teaching, supervising a number of MSc and PhD students over the years. Among these is Computational Physics group lead Matthias Troyer who developed both his MSc as well as his PhD theses under his supervision (the latter co-supervised by T. M. Rice), research work which would ultimately lead to an ETH medal of excellence.

In the late 90’s Prof. Würtz founded one of the first ETH spin-off consulting companies and over the years became cofounder of additional companies like Sidenis AG Zurich as well as ETH/McKinsey coach for young ETH entrepreneurs. Together with his students at the ITP he developed the Rmetrics open source financial software packages and taught lectures worldwide on the topics of computational finance and financial engineering.

Diethelm has always been very helpful and engaged in the group, the institute and the department. In recent years he had been very active in both the counseling of mobility students at the department of physics as well as ensuring a proper working IT infrastructure at the ITP.

His parting is a big loss for our community at ETH. We wish to extend our most heart-felt condolences to his family.

Computational Physics group of ETH Zürich

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Sat Jul 22 22:32:36 CEST 2017
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