In Memory of Prof. Laszlo Takacs

We regret to announce the death of our dear friend Laszlo Takacs.

Laszlo’s death took place at Baltimore, Maryland, on November 13, 2019.

It may well be called premature, as he was in the prime of life. A few months before he seemed to his relatives, friends and colleagues still in the plenitude of his strength and capable, as usual, of excellent work in the time to come. We can certainly say that death removes a brilliant researcher whose work on the phenomena that accompany the application of mechanical forces to solids as well as on the history of Mechanochemistry is well known and appreciated.

Laszlo was born in Hungary, on 30 April 1950. Therefore, he had just completed his sixty-ninth year. He lived his formative years in Sopron, the ancient Roman centre of Scarbantia, a lovely old town less than 50 miles from Vienna and 10 miles East of the then rust-free iron curtain. Thanks to his early aptitude for Mathematics and Physics, in 1968 Laszlo ranked third in Mathematics and second in Physics at the Hungarian National Olympiad. In the same year, he won the second prize at the International Physics Olympiad.

He studied Physics at the Eötvös Loránd University under the supervision of the theoretical physicist Prof. George Marx and of the Solid-State physicist Prof. Elemer Nagy. He graduated in 1974 with a thesis work on Mossbauer investigations of Fe-Co-B intermetallic compounds. The subsequent doctoral research done at the Central Research Institute for Physics in Budapest focused on Fe-Co-B metallic glasses, at the true forefront of research. He received the Ph. D. in 1978.

From 1984 to 1986, Laszlo took a post-doctoral fellowship at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, with Prof. William M. Reiff in the Department of Chemistry. He worked with complex chemical compounds exhibiting complicated magnetic behaviour at temperatures as low as 0.3 K. From 1987 to 1989, he was visiting assistant professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he did research on Hg-based ferrofluids and high-temperature superconductors.

In 1989, Laszlo joined the Physics Department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Maryland. He started a research program in mechanical alloying that drove him to investigate amorphous alloys, nanocomposites and mechanically-induced chemical reactions in highly exothermic systems. This main research program was soon complemented by the study of historical papers and original documents concerning the history of Mechanochemistry, particularly around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when it became a separate branch of Chemistry.

Laszlo was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1997 and was naturalized as a citizen of United States of America in 1998. Teaching has always been an important part of his life. He was glad to be a university professor and to divide his time between teaching and research. His relatives, friends and colleagues perfectly know that he never imagined his life without either. He also served as the Director of the NanoImaging Center of the University of Maryland Baltimore County since 2012. He has been active in the organization of conferences and symposia. He served as reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals and he was member of the American Physical Society, the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society and the International Mechanochemical Association.

It is extremely hard, if not impossible, for those who had no personal knowledge of Laszlo to realise what sort of a man he was and how great his loss will be to those who remain behind him. All of those who have ever passed an hour in his company, or heard him speak at a conference, had the feeling that he was a man of unusual strength, noble sentiments and generous nature. To our mind, Laszlo’s loss is still greater if we consider that he was a brilliant man of great culture and rare musical sensibility.

Virum excellentis ingenii, integritatis et veritatis amicum, he is survived by his wife Eva Veronica and his daughters Katalin and Dora.