in memoriam - HERMAN MÜCHER (1935-2017)
IN MEMORIAM - HERMAN MÜCHER (1935-2017)
Dr. Herman Mücher passed away in Valkenburg (The Netherlands) on December 30, 2017. Herman Mücher was born on March 13, 1935 in Heerlen (Province of Limburg, the Netherlands). After secondary school he followed a practical training at the Geological Bureau of the Mine Region, prior to his military service. From 1957 till 1967 he studied Physical Geography and Soil Science at the University of Amsterdam, where he also got his PhD in 1986. From 1964 till his retirement in 1997, he was respectively research assistant and senior lecturer at the same university, where he was in charge of lectures and practical exercises in soil micromorphology and the soils of the Netherlands, and also dealt with field training of students, in the Netherlands and in Galicia (Spain). In 1967 he was in charge of the organisation of a laboratory of micromorphology at the university, having trained with A. Jongerius (Wageningen), H.J. Altemüller (Braunschweig) and in the laboratory of W.L. Kubiëna in Reinbek.
Herman Mücher was also active in overseas regions. In 1976 he set up a micromorphological laboratory at the Gadjah Mada University in Yogjakarta (Indonesia), and in 1982 at the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning in Nagpur (India). Apart from these activities he was involved in several international projects. In 1986 he did six months of research on the production of organic matter and crust formation in rangeland soils at the CSIRO in Australia, and in 1990 on the pedogenesis of a catena in semi-arid tropical Australia.
Herman Mücher was an expert in the field of the micromorphological study of slope deposits and slope stability, including field and laboratory experiments. Especially his experimental approach in collaboration with the late Prof. J. De Ploey (University of Leuven, Belgium) is considered as very innovative. He was also involved in the study of Quaternary palaeosoils, often in the frame of archaeological research. He was involved as lecturer in four “International Intensive Training Courses on Soil Micromorphology” organised in the frame of ERASMUS in Wageningen (2x), Gent and Granada.
He was author of more than 60 papers published mainly in international journals and books, and participated in many international congresses, often as invited speaker. He was one of the pioneers of micromorphology, and assisted in almost all International Working Meetings on Soil Micromorphology (except the Chengdu meeting in 2008). By his clear lectures and conferences, he inspired many students to use micromorphology as an important tool in their research. For his important contributions to micromorphology he was awarded the Kubiëna Medal of the IUSS during the IUSS meeting in Philadelphia in 2006. After his retirement he cooperated for instance with the team of W. Roebroek of the Faculty of Archaeology of the University of Leiden, resulting in a paper in Nature.
Herman Mücher was not only an excellent scientist, but moreover in the first place a warm and social person, supported by his wife Thea, who often accompanied him during his many travels and stays. He had a wide field of interest, including nature preservation and local history. He enjoyed life, a good meal and a good drink.
By G. Stoops