In Memoriam

DANE BICANIC 1943 – 2018

Dane Bicanic was born on 13th March 1943 in Zagreb, Croatia, where he finished university studies with a BSc degree in Physics. Following Masters’ studies in the USA, in 1971 he moved to the Netherlands, where in 1978 he earned a doctoral degree from the Catholic University in Nijmegen. With the Dissertation “Generation of frequency tuneable sidebands in the THz region” he was the first to push the limits of laser spectroscopy into the region of THz frequencies. Since 1980 he served as professor of physics at the University of Wageningen (at present Wageningen University and Research Centre). As visiting scientist he worked at renowned institutes such as International Centre of Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, the European Laboratory for Nonlinear Optics in Florence, Italy, and in ETH in Zürich, Switzerland. He was also a visiting professor at the University of Zagreb.

Since 1985 Dane Bicanic dedicated most of his research efforts to the development of optothermal spectroscopic techniques, photoacoustic spectroscopy in particular. He made notable contribution to photoacoustic and photothermal science by organizing the ITMPPP07 International Topical Meeting on Photoacoustic and Photothermal Phenomena in Doorwerth, The Netherlands, in 1991, and by numerous applications of photothermal techniques in agriculture, environmental science and food quality and safety, which are registered in almost 400 scientific and professional papers, books and book chapters, invited lectures and presentations at international conferences. He will be remembered for his contribution to the development of IMPASS-Intermodulated photoacoustic Stark spectroscopy and for the always open doors of his laboratory, where many young scientists have found the opportunity to enter the secrets of photoacoustic and photothermal science, and to experience his enormous enthusiasm, positive energy and good spirit, which inspired us all.

For his exceptional approach and performance in teaching, and for capability and success in motivating students, he was nominated the “2008 Techer of the year”, by the University of Wagenigen. In 2012 Dane Bicanic was awarded the title “Honorary member of the University of Nova Gorica”, Nova Gorica, Slovenia, for scientific excellence and outstanding contribution to the development of photothermal and photoacoustic spectroscopy.

After complications of Parkinson’s disease, from which he suffered in his last years, Dane Bicanic passed away on February 11th 2018 and found his last resting place in Nijmegen.

JOAN F. POWER 1958 – 2019

Associate Professor of Chemistry, McGill University. Joan was the first woman faculty member to serve in the Department of Chemistry.

Joan was the author of numerous scientific papers and the inventor and patent holder of numerous inventions including the first Light Profiling Microscope (LMP).

Click here for Joan Power’s selected contributions.

HELION VARGAS 1934 – 2023

An intense life marked by tireless dedication to both science and sport. First, as a professional basketball player, then shifting towards science, students, friends and family. He left us this Saturday, August, 12,2023, leaving a legacy for Brazilian science. The journey of Prof. Vargas begins on June 5, 1934, in Paracatu, MG, Brazil. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 1963, a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of São Paulo (USP) in 1966 and a Doctorate in Science at the University of Grenoble (Scientifique et Medicale Joseph Fourier) in 1973.

He was a full professor, at different times, at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), the Polytechnic Institute in Nova Friburgo and the State University of Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro (UENF). He began his teaching career in 1974 at UNICAMP, where he retired. He has served as a visiting professor in England, France, Germany, Holland and Mexico. The scientific production of Prof. Helion Vargas involves 274 articles, 71 doctoral and master’s supervisions, 2 published books, 1 organized book (Editor) and 30 published book chapters.

Throughout his academic life he received awards and highlights, such as: Fellow, Joliot Curie Foundation (1972); Fellow, The University of Nottingham UK (1979); Prize for Stimulus to Intellectual Production Best Contribution in Experimental Physics, UNICAMP (1985); Zeferino Vaz Award, UNICAMP (1991); Full Member of the Academy of Sciences of the State of São Paulo (1994); Fellow, Mexican National Research Foundation (1996); Commander of the National Order of Scientific Merit, Presidency of the Republic (1998); Highlight in the Ranking of Science: Physics 13th position, Journal Folha de São Paulo (1999); Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (2000); Scientist FAPERJ ( from 2000 to 2014) and tribute in recognition of his contributions to the area of ​​Photothermal Phenomena, State University of Maringá (2007).

In 2011 Prof. Helion Vargas was honored with the highest award given by the International Scientific Community of Photothermal and Photoacoustic Phenomena for his relevant contribution for this field (Senior Prize of the IPPA, International Photoacoustic and Photothermal Association). In 2013 he received the Darcy Ribeiro medal for relevant work produced at UENF. His experience in Physics includes emphasis on optical and spectroscopic properties of Condensed Matter; interactions of matter with radiation and particles, working mainly on the following topics: nuclear and electronic magnetic resonance, photothermal and photoacoustic phenomena, optical and thermal properties of organic and inorganic solids, gases, biological systems and the environment.

He leaves us, but his legacy remains forever as an example of dedication that inspired several generations of students and researchers. Our thanks and may he rest in peace.