IPI International Potash Institute
IPI International Potash Institute

Clipboard: e-ifc No. 36, December 2013

In memory of Volker Römheld

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Prof. Dr. Volker Römheld who died, at his home in Stuttgart on the 27th November 2013.

Volker Römheld was a German agricultural scientist, plant physiologist and soil biologist. As Professor of Plant Nutrition at Hohenheim University, Germany he was recognized internationally as an outstanding contributor to the subject. He published approx. 300 papers in peer review journals and was invited to attend many conferences and symposia and supervised numerous students for their masters and PhD theses. For almost the last twenty years he held a visiting Professorship at the China Agricultural University (CAU), Beijing, China, where he cooperated in the university research program as well as supporting many young Chinese researchers in their first steps in science.

Over the years Volker helped the International Potash Institute (IPI) in many and varied ways. He was always glad to do so, whether it is to join a field visit to a project in a rural area, or to deliver a paper at our symposia, or to conduct a lively debate with young researchers and colleagues covering a wide range of topics. He loved science and appreciated those people who wanted to apply their scientific knowledge to help farmers grow more and better crops. Volker was always ready to help with good advice and a scientific contribution. His presentations were invariably of a very high standard and made in the most logical manner using the tables, figures and pictures that his wife Haoyan had prepared (and which he kept in his electronic notebook). His approach to discussion and indeed to his research was always to maintain an open mind, which was one of his great strengths.

Some years back we traveled together in the Brazilian Cerrado. Volker was typically curious to find out the new wonders of Brazilian agriculture. Very soon afterwards we were told, not unexpectedly, that he was involved in research projects to solve some of the issues that had emerged from this visit. A few years later, in India, we came to learn from him that much work was still needed to investigate the importance of plant nutrients to mitigate biotic and abiotic stresses of plants on crop growth. Volker felt that through proper cooperation and scientific work one could “push” (as he liked to put it) for focused research. In 2012, Volker joined us at a symposium in China, where he felt so very much at home. As always, he was pointing out urgent issues where further research was needed or where some particular fact should be noted or the results of research findings to be passed on to farmers.

Volker is succeeded by his wife Haoyan and daughter Ida.

We will miss Volker greatly for his wholehearted enthusiasm, endless dedication, his vast knowledge and experience, as well as of course for the loss of a dear friend and colleague.

In memory of Volker Römheld, we have compiled a collection of photographs on Flickr from the occasions when Volker helped the International Potash Institute by sharing his time with us.

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