The physicist, writer and poet Prof. Dr. Peter Maria Schuster died on December 26, 2019 at the age of 81 in Pöllauberg in Styria. Schuster gained recognition for his contributions to European physics history and to the historical and literary accounts of world-changing Austrian physicists.
The work of Prof. Dr. Peter Maria Schuster situates itself at the interface of literature and science. After suffering from laryngeal cancer, he devoted himself intensively to the history of physics and the study of Austrian pioneers of modern physics such as Christian Doppler, Joseph Loschmidt, Ernst Mach, Josef Stefan, Ludwig Boltzmann and Victor Franz Hess from 1988 onwards.
Schuster initiated and opened the first European Center for Physics History 'ECHOPHYSICS' in 2010 as well as the 'Victor-Franz-Hess-Society' in Pöllau, Styria, in 2007. From 2007 to 2017 he headed the History of Physics group of the European Physical Society (EPS). In 2006 he founded the 'History of Physics' section of the Austrian Physical Society (ÖPG) and headed it until 2015. On his initiative, the biennial conference series 'International Conference on the History of Physics' was launched in 2014.
Born in Vienna on October 26, 1939, Schuster studied history, Japanese studies, mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna and received his doctorate in physics in 1967. After a one-year fellowship in literature in 1968, he began his industrial career as head of overall marketing at Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, Germany. In 1976, he built up his own trading company in Germany and in 1982 founded the industrial company 'AOL-Dr. Schuster - Analytik, Optik, Lasertechnik' in Vienna.
Schuster received the "Golden Medal of Merit of the Province of Salzburg" in 2004, the "Great Medal of Honor of the Province of Styria" in 2016, the "Badge of Honor of Pöllau" in 2018 and the "Medal of Honor in Silver of the Municipality of Pöllauberg" in 2012. In 2016, he was awarded the title of professor. Schuster was a member of the scientific advisory board of the Christian Doppler Fund in Salzburg (since 1999, member of the board of trustees since 2014), a member of the Austrian P.E.N. Club (since 2000) and the Austrian Writers' Association (since 2014), a member of Academia Europaea (since 2009), and an honorary member of the ÖPG (since 2019).
Schuster is survived by his wife from Luxembourg, Dr. Lily Wilmes, their joint three sons and two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.