Helmut Springer

* 1940

The Vienna University of Technology, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Management Sciences and the Institute of Mechanics and Mechatronics mourn the loss of Em.o.Univ.Prof. DI Dr. Helmut Springer, who died on June 5th, 2023.

Helmut Springer began studying mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Vienna in autumn 1960 and completed it in 1966 with a challenging thesis on the analysis of relay control systems. Shortly thereafter, he began his scientific career as a university assistant at the Institute for Machine Dynamics and Metrology with Prof. Slibar.

His dissertation, which he completed in 1971, dealt with the numerically extremely difficult simulation of the general level movement of passenger cars with pneumatic tires. Subsequently, Helmut Springer discovered rotor dynamics, which would become his favorite discipline in technical dynamics in the future. The intensive occupation with the technical problems with vertical rotors and their mastering by tilting pad bearings then also led to his habilitation in 1979 in the field of machine dynamics.

Due to his growing international reputation, he was able to work as a Visiting Research Assoc. Professor in the USA at the University of Virginia (UVA), opens an external URL in a new window at the Rotor Dynamics Laboratory of Prof. E.J. Gunter gain research experience. During his second stay abroad in 1988/89, also at the UVA, he made his first acquaintance with the revolutionary magnetic bearing technology.

In 1989 Helmut Springer was appointed to the chair for dynamics and vibration technology at the Leibnitz University of Hanover, opens an external URL in a new window, where he followed in the footsteps of the well-known professors Mahrenholtz and Wittenburg. Only two years later, however, Helmut Springer received another call, this time from the TU Vienna, his alma mater.

At the beginning of his work as a professor at the Vienna University of Technology, he began to set up a working group that dealt with magnetic bearing technology in rotating machines. He also established intensive international contacts with other research teams. Numerous high-quality scientific publications, diploma theses and dissertations prove the success of this reorientation of the research areas of his institute.

But Helmut Springer also made our university visible in Technical Dynamics by constantly inviting internationally renowned professors to guest lectures, including Aleš Tondl (Prague/CZ). Helmut Springer was in constant contact with his colleagues in Germany and Switzerland and, together with Prof. Nordmann (TU Darmstadt) and Prof. Irretier (University of Kassel), established the very successful SIRM conference series, opens an external URL in a new window (Vibrations in rotating machines), which was held for the 15th time this year.

Helmut Springer has always attached great importance to good professional communication and international exchange. The promotion of scientific exchange in the context of conferences, seminars and guest invitations was particularly important to him. Not least because of this, he was able to inspire many students for the subjects he represented, such as machine dynamics, rotor dynamics or vibration and measurement technology.

He also always tried to support people in his environment, both students, whom he was able to help to obtain scholarships, and all employees of the institute, to whom he offered professional development opportunities. During his tenure, two honorary professors (Aleš Tondl, Josef Kolerus) and two habilitations (Horst Ecker, Johann Wassermann) were appointed.

In 1989 Helmut Springer was appointed to the chair for dynamics and vibration technology at the Leibnitz University of Hanover, opens an external URL in a new window, where he followed in the footsteps of the well-known professors Mahrenholtz and Wittenburg. Only two years later, however, Helmut Springer received another call, this time from the TU Vienna, his alma mater.

After his retirement in 2009, Helmut Springer completely ended his scientific activities in order to devote the following phase of his life to his family.

With Helmut Springer, the Vienna University of Technology has lost a highly deserving teacher and researcher who was a role model and a great enrichment for a whole generation of students, employees and colleagues.

Horst Ecker, Stefan Jakubek

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