Obituary Diethelm and Barbara Würtz

It is with great sadness that we report the deaths of Diethelm and Barbara Würtz, who died in a car accident on 28 July 2016. Both Diethelm and Barbara worked at the ETH Zurich: Prof. Dr. Diethelm Würtz as a researcher and teacher in the Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Barbara Schröder-Würtz as an advisor in the Human Resources Division.

Prof. Dr. Diethelm Würtz was an enthusiastic entrepreneur and the founder of the Rmetrics Association, which earned him a great appreciation all around the world. His activities included the publication and maintenance of numerous open source software libraries and books, as well as the organization of courses and events. His popular workshops and summer schools about "R in Finance", held at Meielisalp in the Swiss mountains as well as in cities such as Zurich, Paris and Mumbai, will always be remembered.

Trained as a mathematician and physicist, Diethelm earned his PhD in physics in 1978 from the university of Marburg, after which he would move to conduct postdoctoral research at IBM research. He subsequently became assistant professor at the university of Heidelberg in 1984. Four years later, he joined the Computer Center ETH Zurich (RZETH), at a time when a major effort was being made towards the development of high performance super-computing at ETH. His activities at ETH made a major contribution towards the introduction of Computational Physics as a new and, nowadays, essential branch of science. During the last two decades, he established the Econophysics group within the Department of Physics at ETH, developing an interdisciplinary branch of science that deals with the theoretical modelling of complex economic systems. The introduction of new stability indicators for financial markets and economic regions was of great interest and importance to him.

Diethelm was deeply engaged in many activities in his research group, the Institute and the Department. He took on responsibility for advising mobility students for their stays abroad and he was one of the great supporters of the "Physikstudienwoche". In the late 90's he founded one of the first ETH spin-off consulting companies and over the years he was the co-founder of a number of other companies, as well as acting as the ETH/McKinsey coach for young ETH entrepreneurs. He was always much engaged in research and teaching. Besides giving lectures and holding seminars, he supervised numerous MSc and PhD students. Together with his students at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, he developed the Rmetrics open source financial software packages and taught lectures worldwide on the topics of computational finance and financial engineering.

Over the years, we knew Barbara and Diethelm as generous, amiable and warmly hospitable people, whose door was always open. Their tragic and unexpected deaths are a big loss for our community. For their warm and accommodating manner we will always remember and miss them. They leave their son, Fabian, and daughter-in-law Viktoria. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

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