DFG -Eyewitness Discussions

By now, the DGM can look back at an almost  hundred-year-old history. Many of its members have successfully co-written the history of materials science and engineering. DGM’s series of videos “Eyewitness Interviews” aims to capture the, at times very personal, memories of these experts and make them accessible to the wider public.

Financed by the German Research Institute, the DGM carries out eyewitness discussions in collaboration with the head of the DGM-History Committee, Prof. Helmut Maier, Faculty for Technical- and Environmental History at the RUB. In this way, not just the development of the DGM but in particular the development of the whole field of expertise materials science and engineering shall be recognized. In addition, the part that materials science and engineering plays in the success of German industry shall be uncovered.

Dr. Volker Schumacher - Former Executive Director of the DGM

In Memoriam Volker Schumacher

On the 18th November 2014, the former Executive Director of our association, Dr. Volker Schumacher, died at the age of 88, after a short illness. We – his family, his friends, his colleagues and employees, acknowledge this occurrence with dismay and great sadness.

Volker Schumacher was born in 1926 in Wuppertal. He went to school there, interrupted by his military service in the final years of the war. After that, he did his “Abitur” in 1946 and began his studies of physics at Göttingen University. This is where his particular interest in metallurgy evolved, under Prof. Dr. Georg Masing and he earned his PhD at the same university under Dr. Kurt Lücke with his thesis on “Precipitation processes and reactions in the system CuFe”.

After his university education, turned to the United German Metalworks (Vereinigten Deutschen Metallwerken VDM) in Altena to focus on industrial training. Under the stimulating supervision of the Technical director. Mr. Koopmann, he gained lots of experience in various technical and even commercial areas. At the beginning of the 1960s, he moved within the company to Werdohl. Here, he became the head of the laboratory for research and development of non-iron metals. Customer service and quality control also belonged to this area. Finally, in 1967, Herr Dr. Winter of the VDM assigned him with the coordination of all VDM research activities. Consequently, he was responsible for the quality of all VDM products, a task he found stimulating and that corresponded to his abilities.

In 1971, the at the time small DGM managed to acquire Volker Schumacher, an experienced university and industry researcher, as their Executive Director. At this point in time, the chairperson of our association was Dr. Winter, who had met and come to appreciate Volker Schumacher at the VDM. The growth that then began and the national and international cooperation of our association are fundamentally the work of Volker Schumacher.

His undying pleasure in his work and his insightful mind, his understanding solidarity and his personal charm led him to success in his discussions and negotiations. This was acknowledged in 1990 through the presentation to him of an honorary membership of our association.

Volker Schumacher was not just extraordinarily successful in his professional activities, this applied to his private actions too: in particular, his piano playing deserves a mention, which he carried out regularly among a small group of musicians. He was also talented in artistic woodwork. He designed and made a unique music stand. To mention his sporting activities too: in the summer, he navigated native waterways in his own sailboat and canoe; in winter, he went skiing. Finally, it is important to mention his voluntary work in his protestant parish. In all of these activities, Volker Schumacher showed extraordinary skill and knowledge.


Herr Wolfgang Pitsch