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Department of Physics
In memory of Professor Dr. Bernhard Spaan (* 1960, ✝ 2021)

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Spaan

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Spaan © TU Dortmund

Professor Dr. Bernhard Spaan was one of the formative people for our working group. As a former doctoral student and successor to Professor Dietrich Wegener, he significantly oriented the research of our working group towards experimental particle physics with the LHCb experiment. And he played a leading role in the founding of the medical physics degree programmes, which are in synergy with particle physics. Later, Professor Johannes Albrecht's Emmy Noether junior research group settled at his chair. Today, Johannes Albrecht heads the entire research group in succession to Bernhard Spaan. The news of his sudden death reached us all in December 2021, leaving a big gap and, in the time of the Corona pandemic, a great sadness. The fact that about half a year later a new Emmy Noether Young Investigators Group headed by Dr. Dominik Mitzel has now settled at our chair closes the circle and shows that Bernhard Spaan's scientific legacy is carried on by all of us. On this website, we have brought together various memories to create a space of remembrance for his importance to the working group and his special significance for all of us as human beings.

Dr. Alex Seuthe



  • 1960: Bernhard Spaan is born in Bottrop, Germany
  • 1979-1985: Studies at the University of Dortmund
  • 1988: Dissertation on the topic. Studies on rare decays of the tau lepton and on the mass of the tau neutrino
    • Subsequent research:
      • Optimisation of detectors
      • Investigation of the properties of the tau-lepton: Determination of the absolute value of the tau mass using a new analytical method
      • First detection of the transition from matter to antimatter
  • 1993-1995: Research at McGill University in Montréal, Canada
    • Experiments at SLAC in Stanford and the storage ring of Cornell University: participation in the detection of CP violation in B meson decays
  • 1996: Professorship at the TU Dresden in the field of Experimental Hadron Physics
  • 2003: Joined the LHCb collaboration
    • 5 years chairman of the Collaboration Board of the LHCb collaboration
  • 2004: Professorship at the TU Dortmund
  • 2008-2014: Dean of the Faculty of Physics
  • since 2016: Member of the academic senate of TU Dortmund University
  • 2021: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Spaan dies at the age of 61

    Further information can be found in the Wikipedia article on his person, among others.

During his research period, he was involved in 1,675 publications, which are listed under the following link:
https: //


Obituary of Prof. Dr Bernhard Spaan

Bernhard war ein begnadeter Wissenschaftler, sein Antrieb war die Suche nach der Wahrheit. Er wird uns sehr fehlen.

Prof. em. Dietrich Wegener, Bernhard Spaan's doctoral supervisor, in his obituary.


Bernhard Spaan war stets hilfsbereit, hatte immer ein offenes Ohr und war bei allen Kolleg*innen, Mitarbeitenden und Studierenden gleichermaßen beliebt. Er hat in der Fakultät Physik, der TU Dortmund und darüber hinaus viel bewegt - insbesondere als erfolgreicher Leiter einer starken Arbeitsgruppe, in seinem Amt als Dekan und beim Aufbau und der Gestaltung des Studiengangs Medizinphysik. Seit 2016 war er Mitglied des Senats der TU Dortmund. Am Schweizer Forschungszentrum CERN hat Bernhard Spaan über viele Jahre am LHCb-Experiment geforscht und die deutsche Beteiligung an dem Projekt nachhaltig geprägt.

Obituary of the Faculty of Physics


Bernhard was an outstanding experimental physicist whose many contributions shaped the field of experimental heavy-flavour physics. He was also a great communicator. His ability to resolve conflicts and to find compromises brought many additional tasks to Bernhard, whether as dean of the Dortmund faculty, chair of the national committee for particle physics, member of R-ECFA or chair of the LHCb collaboration board. When help was needed, Bernhard never said “no”.

CERN Courier Article


Furthermore, the LHCb week in Dortmund in September 2022 was dedicated to Bernhard Spaan, with a presentation created by Marcel Merk.

In the following document, memories of experiences with Mr Spaan have been collected: Collected Anecdotes about Mr. Spaan

Mr Spaan also took part in the Advent calendar raffle of the physics student council in the winter semester 2020/2021. The corresponding contribution can be found on YouTube.