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Prof. H. Witting

Hermann Witting in memory

On October 5, 2010, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hermann Witting, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, long-time director of the Department of Mathematical Stochastics of the Mathematical Institute of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.

Born on May 29, 1927 in Braunschweig, he began studying mathematics and physics at the TH Braunschweig in 1946. In 1949 he moved to the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, where he earned a diploma in mathematics and the state examination from Gerrit Bol in 1951, received his doctorate in 1953 with a dissertation in applied mathematics from Henry Görtler, and completed his habilitation in 1957. In 1958/59 he received a research fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley, then the center of modern mathematical statistics. This stay was a significant stimulus for his turn to mathematical statistics. In 1959 he returned to the University of Freiburg as a lecturer, and in 1961 he was an associate professor at the TU Karlsruhe and a visiting professor at the ETH Zurich. From 1962 he was a.o. Professor at the TU Karlsruhe. For the winter semester of 1962/63 he was appointed full professor of mathematics and director of the Institute for Mathematical Statistics at the University of Münster. In 1972 he accepted an appointment at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. Even after his retirement in 1992, he continued his scientific work intensively for many years.

Hermann Witting made a significant contribution to the establishment, development and reputation of mathematical statistics in Germany and also influenced the development of his field internationally. His textbooks are still standard works. A large number of his students now hold professorships at home and abroad. Hermann Witting's scientific contributions range from parametric statistics to asymptotic and distribution-independent methods to experimental planning and sequential analysis. In many important national and international committees he has advocated for the interests of mathematics and in particular those of mathematical statistics. In 1974/75 and 1990/91 he was dean of what was then the Faculty of Mathematics. From 1978 to 1980 he was President of the German Association of Mathematicians (DMV). In recognition of his merits and scientific achievements, he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) in 1968 and a full member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences in 1981. In 1992 the University of Münster awarded him an honorary doctorate.

With him, the University of Freiburg, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and its Mathematical Institute lose a committed teacher, a scientist of great reputation and a highly valued colleague.