Gisbert Winnewisser
       Gisbert Winnewisser (1936-2011) was one of a well known trio of spectroscopic Winnewissers.  His initial scientific career (like that of Manfred and Brenda Winnewisser) was considerably influenced by the period in the laboratory of Walter Gordy at Duke University, Durham, USA. He obtained his PhD in Durham and then spent several years at the National Research Council laboratory in Ottawa, Canada that was headed by Gerhard Herzberg.

       The grounding in mm-wave laboratory spectroscopy and in astrophysical spectroscopy obtained in North America set Gisbert Winnewisser upon a distinguished career on his return to Germany. He was first at the Max Planck Institut fur Radioastronomie, and from 1979 at the University of Cologne. He became the director of the I. Physikalisches Institut and formally retired in 2001. Gisbert Winnewisser made this Institute into one one of the world’s most active and innovative centers for laboratory molecular spectroscopy at mm to THz frequencies and for the development of instrumentation for millimeter-wave radio astronomy.

       A biography of Gisbert Winnewisser appeared in Journal of Molecular Structure on the occasion of his 70th birthday: Go West Young Man .   The full text of the original: Stepan Urban, Thomas F. Giessen, Per Jensen, J.Mol.Struct. 795 (2006) 1–3 is reproduced here by permission from Elsevier.


Title page Talks given in honour of Gerhard Herzberg and Gisbert Winnewisser at the 4th Cologne-Bonn-Zermatt Symposium, 22-26 September 2003:
  • "Go West Young Man or how Gisbert came to America" by Manfred Winnewisser Go West Young Man
  • "Gerhard Herzberg and CH2: A Personal Tribute to a Great Scientist and a Dear Friend" by Gisbert Winnewisser Gerhard Herzberg and CH2
  • "Gisbert Winnewisser and Gerhard Herzberg: A Personal Perspective" by Henry Horst Mantsch GW and GH: A Personal Perspective
GW Memorial Talk by E.Herbst The Gisbert Winnewisser memorial talk given by Eric Herbst at the Ohio State University Molecular Spectroscopy Symposium, June 2011.

The KOSMA 3m radiotelescope constructed and operated by the Physikalisches Institut in Cologne during the directorschip of Gisbert Winnewisser: the Physikalisches Institut link, Wikipedia link Gerhard Herzberg and CH2


Picture gallery:

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The old farmer Hoferpeter and the Winnewissers: Ingrid, Gisbert and Manfred (left to right).  The picture was taken in 1940? in the Hoferpeterhof, a 400 year old Black Forest farm near the village of Bad Peterstahl, where the Winnewisser family lived from 1936 to 1946. Gisbert Winnewisser making his first multiplier contact in the Gordy laboratory at Duke University (196?).  The procedure involved making a home-made diode at the contact between a sharpened tungsten whisker and a silicon crystal. The crystal was mounted on a differential screw mechanism and needed to be delicately brought to the whisker, while watching the oscilloscope display of the frequency-multiplied signal. The telegram from Gerhard Herzberg to Gisbert Winnewisser offering him a fellowship at NRC.  This was a surprise for GW since he did not formally apply for any such position. Gisbert Winnewisser and Takeshi Oka at the Ohio State University Molecular Spectrosocpy Symposium in 1970.  From talk by Takeshi Oka presented at the 66th OSU Symposium, 2011. Gisbert Winnewisser and Walter Gordy in Cologne (1983).

Photo Credits: unless otherwise stated the images have been donated by Manfred Winnewisser for use on this website,