Ulrich Gonser was born in Munster, Germany, on December 10, 1922. He began his studies in physical chemistry at the University of Munster and received his Ph.D. degree in 1953. From 1954 to 1957, he was a research member of the Physics Institute of the University of Illinois, Urbana. During the period between 1957 to 1960, when he acquired the "Habilitation" degree, he became a group leader in the radiation damage division at Atomic International, NAA, Canoga Park, California, and in 1962 he joined the staff of the Science Center, Thousand Oaks, California, where he served as a leader of the elementary interaction group until 1969.
Professor Gonser is a member of various scientific societies: Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (Board of Directors), Bunsen-Gesellschaft, Frannhofer Gesellschaft (Board of Directors), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Metallkunde (Board of Directors), American Physical Society (Fellow), New York Academy of Sciences (Life Member), Scientific Research Association of America, Mössbauer Effect Data Center (Advisory Board), International Board on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect (Honorary Member), and organizer of various international and national conferences.
Uli Gonser has made significant contributions in his research fields, especially in Mössbauer spectroscopy and in metal physics. Well over 400 papers have appeared in international journals and about 25 book articles have been published. Particular mention should be made of some of the "firsts" of his career he was the first to produce amorphous metals by irradiation of semiconductors, and the first use of Mössbauer spectroscopy in the investigation of lattice defects and also for biological experiments. Other accomplishments include the discovery of the Neel temperature of gamma-iron, the applications of polarized gamma-rays to investigate spin orientations and magneto-optic effects, the application of Mössbauer spectroscopy to texture and surface phenomena, hydrogen dynamics in metals and structural information on amorphous metals, simultaneous measurements of conversion electron and gamma-ray absorption, and many others.
Translations of his books are available in Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. About 250 foreign scholars from more than 20 countries worked and studied in his institute. About 200 students obtained their master's and Ph.D. degree under his experienced guidance.
Professor Uli Gonser was very instrumental in developing Mössbauer spectroscopy in many countries, in particular India, Japan, and China. In India, his associations with Professor V. G. Bhide resulted in the spread of Mössbauer research by many laboratories and the eventual hosting of the International Conference on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect in India in 1981. In Japan, he established many collaborations with his long-time colleagues Professor Fujita and Professor Nakamura.
Through his friendship with Professor Yuanfu Hsia, Uli Gonser visited China in 1982 with Steen Mørup for a two-week lecture series which was very instrumental in the development of Mössbauer spectroscopy in China. The 1991 International Conference on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect was hosted by Professor Yuanfu Hsia at Nanjing University. Uli Gonser was recognized for his contribution to the development of Mössbauer research by his being awarded title of Honorary Professor of Nanjing University and Soushou University.
Uli Gonser has been a long-time friend of the Mössbauer Effect Data Center, going back to its original establishment approximately 30 years ago. His friendship, advice, support, and encouragement have been held in high regard by the Center.
(Information and photos contributed by A. Trautwein and Y.F. Hsia.)