The collection of these pages of material honoring Tomas Hirschfeld started in 2021 when several of the organizers of that year’s SciX realized that there was very little information about him on the conference website. The description of the Tomas B. Hirschfeld Student Award only hints at Hirschfeld’s role in the development of modern instrumental analysis and his influence on those he collaborated with, mentored, and encountered. It quickly became apparent that there was no readily available single source of material, and even the testimonials published within a few years of Hirschfeld’s passing in 1986 were not easily found. Starting with those testimonials, this collection grew to include items from the scientific literature, government archives, and personal collections. It also includes new material – the reminiscences of several prominent analytical chemists who worked with Hirschfeld. These contributions go beyond the prodigious quantity and quality of his work to show the personality, humor, and elan that made Tomas Hirschfeld such a unique individual.
We hope that this collection brings back fond memories for those who knew Tomas Hirschfeld and inspires those who will be learning about him for the first time.
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These memorials contain basic biographical information about Tomas Hirschfeld, but are notable for two other reasons. The variety of journals in which these memorials appeared show the breadth of his influence on measurement science, and the depth of his influence is apparent through the personal and professional sense of loss expressed by the authors.
Tomas Hirschfeld’s ability to get at the essence of physical and chemical problems was also reflected in his ability to find pithy and efficient expressions to characterize his approach to science and life. These rules of thumb (or “Tomas-ims”, per his last post-doctoral student, Mike Angel) were among the most-remembered parts of people’s encounters with Hirschfeld. A list of 29 items was published under “The Sayings of Tomas Hirschfeld” by David Honigs in Applied Spectroscopy (40(6) (1986) 11A). Mike Angel kept a document, dated 3/13/1985, which contains these and several more which are listed below. (Starting with number 12, the list largely follows with Honigs’.)
Tomas’ Rules of Thumb
1. Problem solving starts by finding the available degrees of freedom (cash, time, people).
Special thanks are given to Prof. Mike Angel, who kindly shared his archive of Hirschfeld papers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to the librarians at Livermore and Savannah River National Laboratories, who tracked down photographs and newsletter clippings from their respective archives, and to all of the authors of the reminiscences that are found here.
This collection is far from a complete record of Tomas Hirschfeld. Additional materials will be considered for inclusion in these pages. Please contact the FACSS office if you have material that might be added.