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In Memoriam: Frank Stadermann

October 8, 2010

Today we mourn a colleague, Dr. Frank Stadermann, who was well-known to many of us and beloved by the woman we featured on Tuesday, his wife Dr. Christine Floss.   As his memorial service proceeds today, we also mourn from afar.  The following writeup was sent publicly over the LPI list on 10/7/2010: 

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of two our esteemed colleagues.  Frank Stadermann passed away on October 4, 2010, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 48 years old. A senior research scientist in physics, member of the Laboratory for Space Sciences, and director of the NanoSIMS and Auger laboratories at Washington University in St. Louis, Stadermann received an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Heidelberg for his work on 40Ar-39Ar dating of lunar rocks from the Fra Mauro region. After a two-year research visit to Washington University, he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg in 1991 with a dissertation on SIMS isotopic and trace element measurements of interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), which included the discovery of widespread nitrogen isotopic variations in IDPs. As a post-doc at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik in Heidelberg he studied micrometeoroid impacts on satellite surfaces to evaluate the relative contributions of cosmic particles and man-made debris in low-Earth orbit. He continued this line of research after transferring to the Darmstadt University of Technology, where he was in charge of establishing a new SIMS laboratory for material science with an ims5f instrument. Other work at that time included particle analysis with electron microprobe and SIMS, and development and application of two- and three-dimensional SIMS imaging techniques for material and space science applications. He re-joined Washington University in 1996 to participate in development, fund-raising, and the eventual purchase of the very first NanoSIMS, a newly designed high-resolution and high-sensitivity type of ion microprobe.

Stadermann developed techniques for NanoSIMS measurements in TEM sections, which allowed for the first time correlated mineralogical and isotopic studies on a submicrometer scale. This work led to the first direct isotopic measurement of “presolar grains within presolar grains” (200-nanometer TiC crystals embedded in low-density supernova graphite spheres). He also discovered the first presolar corundum and SiC grains in IDPs. He served as a sample advisor for the Stardust mission, and the analysis of cometary particles was an important focus of his research. His analyses during the preliminary examination of dust particles from Comet Wild-2 returned by the Stardust space probe led to the discovery of a presolar grain among the returned cometary samples. Stadermann’s wife, Christine Floss, a research associate professor of physics at Washington University, often collaborated with him.

Frank will be missed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. sutari permalink
    October 12, 2010 7:32 am

    Oh, my heart goes out to Christine and her family. I lost my mother in the same sudden and inexplicable way. The shock is so hard to deal with. I hope that the comfort of friends and family, and the caring thoughts from strangers like me will help them through this time.

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