Professor Jerzy Bartke, the prominent Polish physicist, teacher and mentor to a few generations of Polish physicists, passed away on 21st of March 2016.
Jerzy was one of the pioneers of the relativistic nuclear physics in Poland, a long-time leader of the Department of Ultrarelativistic Heavy Ion Physics and Hadron Interactions at the H. Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences.
After graduating from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, he started his scientific career in 1958, in the group led by prof. Marian Mięsowicz. As the Ford Foundation fellow, he visited CERN as the first physicist from Poland, then beyond the Iron Curtain. He was involved in CERN bubble chamber experiments until mid-seventies. In 1975 he moved to the field of relativistic nuclear physics and started the fruitful collaboration with the JINR in Dubna. He worked for the Dubna Propane Bubble Chamber group until 1985. That year he began his activity in the CERN heavy-ion programme, as a member of the NA35 Collaboration at the SPS. Together with his group he then moved to the follower of NA35, the NA49 experiment. In both experiments he played a significant role, using his deep knowledge of physics. In 1992 he started his activity in ALICE, working, together with his group, for the ALICE Time Projection Chamber. He actively participated in the discussions on all possible aspects of the ALICE physics, bringing many fresh ideas. After his retirement he didn’t stop his activity as a member of the Krakow ALICE group. On the contrary, until his very last days he visited our Institute, offering his knowledge and good advice. He is to be remembered as actual founder of our activity in NA35, NA49 and ALICE, and indirectly also of our presently starting participation in NA61/SHINE. Independently from being author or co-author of 283 published papers (Inspire, April 1st 2016), Jerzy took great care in documenting his deep knowledge in particle and heavy ion physics as author of several scientific books (last published in 2009).
While physics was one of his passions, another one was stamp collecting. Jerzy was a recognized philatelist, member of the Polish Philatelist Academy, the Secretary of the Main Board. He won in several philatelist exhibitions. He was also active in the European Philatelist Academy.
For his outstanding achievements he was awarded with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
We lost a prominent scientist, a friend and a warm, kind man. We will miss him, his personality and his knowledge. We will always remember him and do our best to transmit his memory to our younger collaborators.