In Remembrance of Konrad Reichert

April-Latest-ReichertObit-jpgKonrad Reichert, (Life Fellow) professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, passed away on January 15, 2015 at the age of 85.

Konrad Reichert was born on December 14, 1930 in Leutkirch, Germany, not far from Lake Constance. He graduated in electrical power engineering in 1956, took his PhD. degree and a senior doctoral degree, all at the Technical University of Stuttgart in Germany. There he served, from 1957 to 1968, as a scientific assistant in lecturing and research, dealing particularly with the application of superconductivity and numerical methods for modeling electrical machines.

Then, a first – nonacademic – association was with Brown Boveri & Cie. (BBC, later ABB) in Baden, Switzerland, from 1968 to 1979. He became the manager of the Computer Applications in Engineering and Power System Analysis department, dealing with the development of methods and software for design and analysis of electrical machines and power systems. The department provided consultation servicesto internal and external customers and was first in the industrial application of State Estimation and Static Var Compensation in power systems in Switzerland and Canada.

In 1980, Konrad Reichert returned to an academic career by joining the ETH Zurich, as a professor and chair holder for electric energy conversion. The title of his inaugural lecture “Systems Engineering and Electrical Machines”was to become the guiding principle of a 17-year long period of intensive and trendsetting research and lecturing. During this period, the Finite-Element tool FEMAG for numerical simulation of electrical machines was developed by him and his staff. Today, this tool is used in a large number of industries worldwide, and was given his devoted and fullest attention until shortly before his death.

Konrad Reichert has about 150 publications to his credit. He received, together with 3 co-authors, an IEEE Prize Paper Award in 1991 for the paper “Shaft Voltages in Generators with Static Excitation Systems –Problems and Solutions”. In 2006 Reichert received the IEEE Nikola Tesla Award “for contributions to the development of numerical methods and computer analysis and simulation of electrical machines and devices”. He was elected an IEEE Fellow in 1994 “for contributions to the analysis of electromagnetic fields and planning and operation of power systems by means of numerical methods”. He was a member of several IEEE and CIGRE working groups. A crowning achievement of his work was the “International Conference on the Evolution and Modern Aspects of Synchronous Machines”held 1991 in Switzerland, in the facilities of ETH in Zurich and BBC/ABB in Baden, the main sponsors. The last public appearances of Konrad Reichert were to attend the IEEE Milestone celebration day in Rheinfelden in September 2014 and to give a workshop on Electrical Machines and Drives offered by the German Association of Electrical Engineers (VDE) in December 2014.

As a lecturer, a colleague and a person, Konrad Reichert was unique: open and engaging in his nature, motivating and determined in his actions, selfless and trustworthy in his behavior. His professional heritage has been continued in gratitude by numerous graduate and PhD students of the ETH Zurich now working in key positions of the electrical world. Konrad Reichert is survived by his wife Margrit, two sons and four grandchildren.

Gerhard Neidhöfer, IEEE Life Fellow