There are no words that can express our sadness over the passing on 8 November 2018 of André Mischke – a loyal friend and dear colleague of the Founding Members and the Board of the Young Academy of Europe, and of the President and Board of Trustees of the Academia Europaea.
André had a gentle and efficient approach to making a difference to society through his thoughtful contributions to academia, science policy and establishment of a pan-European initiative that continues to shape Europe for a greater tomorrow.
As Founding Chair of the Young Academy of Europe and Member of Academia Europaea he dedicated time and energy to foster the development of a pallet of opportunities available to young researchers and as such make a difference to Europe’s next generation of scientists and beyond.
André was an inspiring and internationally recognised scholar with a passion for experi-mental particle physics applied to the early moments that followed the Big Bang. Through his experimental studies he investigated a novel state of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, using frontier technologies such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
This highly complex work was supported by the Dutch National Science Foundation, the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter, and the European Research Council through some of the most prestigious funding schemes – a testament of his scientific excellence.
André not only studied the constituents of matter, but also applied his expertise in particle physics to improving the detection of breast cancer. With current mammograms between 10 and 30 percent of malignant tissue cases are missed – yet another example of Andre’s dedication to making a difference.
Beyond his impressive research achievements, André played a pivotal role in gathering scientists around Europe to encourage participation in science policy and communication from a bottom-up approach. André was truly convinced that the European idea behind the European Research Council should not be limited to spending money for smart ideas but to gather people and promote science and its international vision beyond individual labs and institutions.
His commitment was vital to keep close contact with the ERC Scientific Council for promoting this idea and he was a central advocate for the creation of the Young Academy of Europe in liaison with Academia Europaea as an academy of young scholars.
André had a special talent to unite people and he made them aware of the importance of networking and community building within academia.
He shaped the developments that led to the formation of the Young Academy of Europe through a calm but motivated approach. In negotiating the crucial relationship between the YAE and the AE, André won the support of the AE Board with his engaging nature, immense talent for diplomacy, and brilliant sense of humor.
As Founding Chair, and recently the Chair of the YAE Advisory Council, he was the obvious person to ask for advice and guidance relating to YAE matters and more. When the Young Academy of Europe encountered a challenge that was not easy to solve, the solution was always: ‘Let’s ask André!’ … and he would always come up with a solution or useful guidance!
The Young Academy of Europe started with André and 10 other Founding Members in 2012. Today, the Young Academy of Europe has close to 200 fellows, is formally registered, recognised by the European Commission, and actively contributes to shaping Europe’s science policy.
The Young Academy of Europe has given the next generation of scientists a voice and it is with great fondness that we can say André HAS made a difference to Europe and beyond, at a level that is difficult to capture in words.
André was a very special person whom we will miss dearly.