1927 – 2019

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tubingen, Germany


Hellmut Fischmeister was born on May 14, 1927, in Vienna, Austria. He studied physics, mathematics, and chemistry at the University of Graz from 1945 to 1951, where he received his doctorate in physical chemistry in 1951. From 1953 he was a research assistant at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry at Uppsala University. In 1956 he became head of the physics and materials groups in the development laboratory of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson in Stockholm. From 1958 he was head of the powder metallurgy laboratory at the Swedish Metal Research Institute in Stockholm. From 1961 he headed the research department for hard metals in the stainless steel plant of Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags AB in Söderfors (Sweden), subsequently, he headed the entire research, development and quality control of the stainless steel plant in Söderfors (today Erasteel Kloster AB and Söderfors Steel AB).

In 1965 he followed a call to full professor and head of the Institute for Metallic Materials at Chalmers Technical University in Gothenburg. In 1975 he was appointed full professor and head of the Institute for Metallurgy and Materials Testing at the Montan University Leoben. In 1981 he became a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director of the Institute for Materials Science at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart (now the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems). In addition to his management role at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, he was also the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle (Saale) from 1991 to 1993. He retired from the MPI for Metals Research in 1995. Hellmut Fischmeister was a member of the Austrian University Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2003 and a member of the Austrian Science Council from 2004 to 2009.  

In 1975 he was accepted as an elected foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering (Kungl. Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien, abbreviated IVA). In 1981 he was elected a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and has been a member of the Academia Europaea since 1988. In 1995 he became a real member of the mathematical and natural science class of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

He was awarded orders and medals, and some most important ones are: in 1969 Knight of the Royal North Star Order, in 1991 Honorary doctorate from the Royal Technical University of Stockholm, in 1992 Honorary doctorate from the Graz University of Technology, in 1997 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1st Class Cross of Merit, in 2007 Honorary doctorate from the Montan University Leoben, in 2010 Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class, and in 2010 Honorary member of the German Society for Material Science. He passed away in November 2019.