Rudolf Rüffer


When I started working on nuclear resonance scattering using synchrotron sources in Germany, back in the late 70s, synchrotron radiation was still parasitic and considered a nuisance.  It was new, it was risky and a big challenge but I was pulled in by my supervisor’s excitement and his conviction that it would be possible. It took us 9 years to get the first proved spectrum. When the ESRF planned to build a Mössbauer beamline, it was a unique chance for me to work at the world’s first 3rd generation synchrotron, creating a new technique. I joined in 1991; it was a scientist’s dream. My experience showed me that nothing is impossible. I never thought I’d stay this long but I hadn’t counted on the reality that it would just get more and more exciting every year, keeping us in the flow. The nuclear resonance team is close knit and we are careful about spending time together, we make space for lunch or tea breaks: I believe it is then when new ideas come up. I try to be with them like my supervisor was with me: giving them freedom to do what they think is useful for the beamline and for the scientific programme. It’s a philosophy that has worked for us and I hope I’ve passed it on to the students I’ve trained.”

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