ETH Zurich bids farewell to computer science professor Jiří Matoušek
A leading light in discrete and algorithmic geometry, he passed away on March 9, 2015, a day before his 52nd birthday.
Jiří Matoušek studied at Charles University in Prague, where he also took his doctorate and became first an assistant professor and then, from 2000, professor of computer science. From 1996 onwards, he spent three or four months of every year at ETH Zurich as a visiting professor in the Department of Computer Science, carrying out research and also becoming increasingly involved in education.
Loyalty to his home university in Prague meant that, for a long time, he was reluctant to take up an offer of regular employment at ETH Zurich. Finally, however, he accepted a professorship in computer science with reduced hours at ETH Zurich, a job which he performed with great commitment, pleasure and passion from 2012 until his death.
Jiří Matoušek was a brilliant and outstanding mathematician and computer scientist. Although his research focused on combinatorics, discrete geometry and algorithmics, his interests ranged well beyond these areas. He was a recognised expert in fields including algorithmic geometry, topological methods, discrepancy theory and linear programming.
Time and again, he ventured boldly into new territory, linked different disciplines together and was soon able to share his findings in lectures and in books that were of major significance and widely read internationally. Being involved in this work was a huge privilege for his students and colleagues here at ETH Zurich.
Anyone who knew him could sense the depth in his approach, and not only in his scientific work. He was supremely capable of concentrating on the essentials while at the same time always remaining open to other people's questions. He set high standards for himself but was tolerant and warm-hearted towards others, while his dry sense of humour was inimitable and unforgettable.
Jiří Matoušek passed away on March 9, 2015, a day before his 52nd birthday. The members of ETH Zurich, his former students and colleagues will all retain fond memories of him.
In the name of ETH Zurich
Lino Guzzella, President
Sarah Springman, Rector