In Memoriam | Rein Rumphorst

Last Friday on June 8th, Rein Rumphorst passed away at the age of 92. Until recently Rein could be found almost daily at the Department of Applied Physics.

Rein trained as a radio engineer at the Electrotechnical School in Amsterdam and afterwards worked for the National Aviation Department (Rijksluchtvaartdienst) and the Dutch Institute for Nuclear Physics Research. From 1971 until his retirement in 1985 he worked at the Philips Physics Laboratory . During this period he had contact with Hidde Brongersma and the seeds of his long relationship with TU/e were sown. In the evening hours, Rein helped with the development of measurement setups in the Physics of Surfaces and Boundary Layers group and after he retired he continued this work tirelessly. He has left his mark on many of the department's groups.

Rein used to cycle to TU/e in the morning from Waalre. His distinctive look included his white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, shorts if the weather was warm, and the squared paper and pencil he used to design his circuits. No computer was ever involved. Rein Rumphorst a true craftsman in the field of analogue electronics. He designed countless ingenious setups.

Rein was a perfectionist. There was only one criterion for something being finished and that was its being perfect. Rein detested shoddy work and people who delivered shoddy work. Rein was also never without an opinion. You could always call on him for a chat, sincere - and unsolicited - advice, a juicy story or an amusing anecdote.

In 2001 in an interview with Cursor, Rien, then aged just 76, recorded the following: "I would like to die working." Even in the hospice where he spent his last weeks he was surrounded by plastic bags full of electronics. Circuits he wanted to complete or still in need of a description. Just taking a moment to make clear how appalled he was by that one manufacturer who still did not know how to build a good oscilloscope. To the very last, Rein remained a craftsman and full of humor. He observed that after 92 years his body was letting him down, and in response he chose to let go of life. He accepted this situation and that made a visit to him in this last phase a precious moment.

We will remember Rein as a very special person, a man of humor, who stood for his field of work and who extended a helping hand to anyone who wanted it. We wish his family much strength in the coming period.

Wijnand Dijkstra and René Janssen, on behalf of the subdepartment Molecular Materials and Nanosystems


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