In memoriam Robert Blinc (October 31, 1933 - September 26, 2011)#

Janez Seliger#

Robert Blinc was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1933. He graduated at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Ljubljana in 1958 and received a PhD from the same university a year later. During his post-doc study in the laboratory of prof. John S. Waugh at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, U. S. A., he learned about NMR. After he returned to Ljubljana he established a NMR laboratory at the »Jozef Stefan« Institute. Professor Robert Blinc was leading the Condensed Matter Physics Deparment at the “Jozef Stefan” Institute for years and he was one of the founders of uses of nuclear magnetic resonance for investigations of phase transitions and liquid crystals. He established NMR, EPR and NQR spectroscopy in Slovenia. One of his great achievements is the tunneling model of the hydrogen bonded ferroelectrics, known also as the Blinc-de Gennes pseudospin model. Prof. Blinc introduced the “soft mode” theory of phase transitions in the nematic and ferroelectric liquid crystals. Together with Pincus he experimentally confirmed the existence of order parameter fluctuations in nematic liquid crystals by measuring the frequency dependence of the nuclear spin-lattice relaxation. Prof. Blinc applied NMR for the study of incommensurate systems. He experimentally determined the soliton density and proved the existence of phason and amplitudon excitations. Using NMR he determined the Edwards-Anderson order parameter in deuteron glasses and the distribution of local polarization. In ferroelectric relaxors Prof. Blinc and his coworkers developed the random bond-random field model and showed that the Edwards-Anderson order parameter exists also in relaxors. In his research Prof. Blinc didn’t use only NMR but also several less standard techniques like EPR, NQR and double resonance. His research was not only devoted to “pure science” but he also investigated the possibility of practical applications of NMR. This resulted in the application of NMR in plant breeding and cement research. He also applied NQR in the study and identification of the pharmaceutical substances and in the detection of explosives and illicit substances.

In 1970 Robert Blinc became a professor of physics at the University of Ljubljana. He was the teacher of numerous generations of students and the supervisor of a large number of diploma, MSc and PhD students. He was also a visiting professor at several universities worldwide.

Prof. Robert Blinc was a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and served as its vice president from 1980 to 1999. He was also a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and several other academies of sciences.

Prof. Robert Blinc was a great scientist, great teacher and also a great organizer. He was the president of Groupement AMPERE for two mandates during 1990–1996. He organized several scientific meetings. Among them the AMPERE NMR Summer School in Baško Polje is the best known.

The scientific work of Prof. Robert Blinc is published in a large number of highly cited papers. In addition he published a synthesis of his research in several books. The book Soft Modes in Ferroelectrics and Antiferroelectrics, North-Holland, Amsterdam (1974), written together with Prof. Boštjan Žekš, was later transtated to Russian and Chinese language. Prof Blinc is the coauthor of the books The physics of ferroelectric and antiferroelectric liquid crystals, World Scientific, Singapur (2000) and Incommensurate Phases in Dielectrics, World Scientific, Singapur (1986). In autumn 2011, just few months ago, he published his last book entitled Advanced Ferroelectricity, Oxford Univerity Press (2011) covering the development of the ferroelectric materials in the last twenty years.

Professor Robert Blinc was a prominent scientist and he left a large impact on the NMR community.

The obituary was published in epr Newsletter, Vol. 21 No. 3

Imprint Privacy policy « This page (revision-3) was last changed on Tuesday, 28. February 2012, 16:44 by Kaiser Dana
  • operated by