Ceremonial colloquium for SFB 1313 member Prof. Thomas Ertl

November 21, 2023 / Dirk Srocke

At the end of September, Prof. Thomas Ertl retired and was honored with a festive colloquium. On the occasion of the Stuttgart Visualization Day 2023, the rector, the faculty and companions honored the achievements of the internationally distinguished researcher.
[Picture: Dirk Srocke]

An impressive career

It turned out quite nicely after all–Prof. Ertl's summary of the Stuttgart Visualization Day 2023 could at the same time be understood as a modest review of an impressive academic career.

In a personal greeting, Rector Prof. Wolfram Ressel praised Prof. Ertl's foresight. He had already promoted the systematic cooperation between complementary disciplines before there was any talk of the "Stuttgarter Weg" (Stuttgart Way). Today, there is no joint project at the University of Stuttgart in which visualization is not involved. In his greeting Prof. Ressel also attributed the international reputation of the VIS to Prof. Ertl's extraordinary commitment: He had turned the institute into a world institute.

Prof. Michael Sedlmair, head of the department "Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality" at VIS/VISUS, who represented the Vice Dean who was prevented from attending at short notice, brought the greetings of the faculty.

The Eurographics Gold Medal

As if to prove it, there was another award for the outgoing head of the Department of Graphical Interactive Systems at the Institute for Visualisation and Interactive Systems (VIS) at the festive colloquium: As a member of the Executive Committee, Prof. Hans-Peter Seidel handed over a Gold Medal of the European Association for Computer Graphics (Eurographics).

Academic career...

Further achievements of Prof. Ertl's academic career can not only be found in his staff profile, but were also mentioned in the lectures on site. Moderated by Prof. Daniel Weiskopf, Managing Director VIS and Co-Director VISUS, the festive colloquium in lecture hall V38.04 also offered plenty of room for very personal perspectives and retrospectives.

...and personal perspectives

This included a visual data walk with Dr. Tanja Blascheck, former doctoral student of Prof. Ertl and Margarete von Wrangell Fellow at the Institute for Visualisation and Interactive Systems (VIS), recalled how "Tom" accompanied her as a mentor over the years–from her studies to her doctorate and subsequent stay abroad to her return to the University of Stuttgart. For his part, Prof. Ertl emphasized how fulfilling it had been to see young people grow academically.

Competition and high regard

Prof. Rainer Helmig, Head of the Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of Hydrosystems and speaker of the Collaborative Research Center 1313, acknowledged the human and mediating qualities of the "bridge builder" Prof. Ertl in the context of the Cluster of Excellence SimTech (EXC 2075). Another long-time companion, Univ.Prof. Eduard Gröller from TU Wien, in his keynote speech "Scalable Interactive Visual Analysis" gave enough space for an ironically described competitive relationship with Prof. Ertl in addition to academic remarks–but never left any doubt about the mutual respect among the scientists and especially entertained the obviously amused Prof. Ertl in the auditorium.

Farewell applause

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