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Eugen Friedrich Stumpfl, 1931-2004

Eugen Stumpfl, born in Munich, was the son of Austrian and Russian medical practitioners who settled in Igls, near Innsbruck. After graduating from Innsbruck under Bruno Sander, Eugen studied under Paul Ramdohr for his doctorate (1956) and stayed as a research assistant at Heidelberg (1956-1958) before appointments at University College, London (1958-1965), The University of Toronto (1965-1966) and The University of Manchester (1967-1970).

While at Manchester, Eugen undertook research on Apollo 11 and 12 samples and then moved to the Chair at the University of Hamburg (1970-1975) and then the Chair at the Mining University of Austria, Leoben (1976-1997). His energy, enthusiasm and generosity made Leoben the friendly centre of ore deposit geology in Europe and his Institut always had a great diversity of foreign students and visitors and was the locus for conferences and specialist courses. He arranged visiting fellowships and research funds for a large number of young scientists from the former ‘iron curtain’, the Stumpfl houses (Graz and Leoben) were always home to visiting scientists and he is well remembered for his modesty and great kindness.

After retirement, Eugen stayed in Leoben and continued to be even more active in research. His initial research on ore minerals under Ramdohr led to a lifelong interest in platinum ore mineralogy and deposits with research in South Africa, Austria, Russia, Cyprus, Borneo, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Norway, Kazakhstan, Egypt, USA and Australia. His interests were diverse with other research on Ag-Co-Ni deposits (Cobalt, Canada), base metal deposits (Broken Hill, Mt Isa, Abra, Rum Jungle, Australia; Gamsberg and O’okiep, South Africa; Bleiberg, Austria; Nigadoo River, Canada; Rampura-Agucha, India; Rooiberg, South Africa), gold and gold telluride deposits (Ghana, Borneo), scheelite deposits (Austria), radioactive waste disposal sites and the mineralogical imprint of industrial emissions. Eugen was visiting scientist at BRGM (1961, 1993), Rio de Janeiro (1971), Witwatersrand (1973, 1974, 1975) Malaya (1975, 1976, 1977), Adelaide and CSIRO (1981), Perth (1982, 1989, 1990, 2004), Oxford (1984), Dublin (1986), Kuwait (1987), Hobart (1998) and was the 1996 Mineralogical Society distinguished visiting lecturer.

Besides research, he was a very active external examiner, research council member, chair committee member, Rotarian, government committee member and inspiring teacher. He also served as Secretary and Chairman of the Commission on Ore Mineralogy of the IMA (1978-1986), SEG Regional Vice President (1987-1994), IMM correspondent (1990-2004), SGA President (1997-1999), Steering Committee European Science Foundation (1998-2003) and Managing Editor, Mineralogy and Petrology (1978-2004). During an outstanding career, he won the IMM Goldfields Silver Medal (1985), the Schneiderhöhn Prize (1997) and received an honorary doctorate (Oulo, 2002) and was Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (1987), Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (1992), Honorary Fellow, IMM (1993) and Honorary Fellow, Austrian Mineralogical Society (2001). He discovered vincentite, hollingworthite and bernhardite and has two minerals named after him (stumpflite Pt[Sb,Bi] and eugenite Ag9Hg2). Professor Stumpfl is survived by his wife Valerie Stumpfl nee Allwood and daughters Claudia (1961, London) and Maria (1976, Paris).

Ian Plimer