In memoriam: dr. Walter Kern

The news that our esteemed colleague

Dr. W. (Walter) Kern

passed away on January 29, 2021, has touched us deeply.

Walter, born in 1957 in Nürnberg, graduated in Erlangen and received his PhD in 1985 from the Universität zu Köln, was a Mathematician with heart and soul. As associate professor in the Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Programming group, he worked for the UT since December 1988, more than 32 years.

Walter had impressive qualities as a researcher in discrete mathematics, optimization, game theory and operations research. His mathematical knowledge was broad and deep. He was known within the group as the `lexicon' - anyone who was unable to make progress in his research was happy to pay Walter a visit. He knew a way out immediately or was so intrigued that he managed to find a solution within a few days. Walter was also an excellent teacher, a great friend of classical lectures on the blackboard, and he has trained many generations of students with enormous patience.

Several of Walter's former students are now active as professors and share his good taste for the beauty of mathematics, and the most elegant argument. Walter was also active for many years on the faculty council of the EEMCS faculty.

In the summer of 2020, he was diagnosed with cancer -after some complaints. In his unique way, he still made jokes about it at the time. But what followed was an almost unbelievably rapid deterioration of his situation, with more and more surprises. Unfortunately in a negative sense. Even recently, he still had hope, but interspersed with the idea of the inevitable.

We are going to miss very much his advice in mathematical questions, but especially his calm demeanor, his modesty, his helpfulness, his fine humor, and his counterbalance to the delusion of the day.

Our feelings of sympathy go out to his partner Angela and two sons Anton and Julius, further family and loved ones.

Also on behalf of the Executive Board and the staff and students of the University of Twente,

Prof. Joost Kok, Dean Faculty EEMCS
Prof. Stephan van Gils, department chair of Applied Mathematics
Prof.dr. Marc Uetz, chair Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Programming