It is with considerable regret that the CODATA community learnt of the death of Academician and CODATA Vice-President, Professor Fedor Kuznetsov on 4 February 2014. Fedor Kuznetsov was a long-standing and committed servant of CODATA (ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology): he made a substantial contribution to CODATA and to international scientific collaboration around data issues.
Fedor Kuznetsov was a world-class scientist, respected internationally for his scientific and technical contributions. His abilities as an administrator and successful Director of the Nikolaev Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (NIIC), Novosibirsk, led this institute to achieve world-wide renown. He played important roles in the business of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and also in the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences.
For several decades, Fedor worked very hard to develop international cooperation whether bilaterally or multilaterally through organizations like the Asia Pacific Academy of Materials, which he had served as a founding member as well as President.
Through CODATA, he made significant contributions to such international collaboration, through his participation in the Executive Committee, as Vice-President and by establishing various Task Groups on Nanotechnology and Gas Hydrates. In 1984 he was a member of the CODATA Industrial Data Commission, established ‘to guide the Executive Committee on the data needs of industry’. [See CODATA@45 Years, p. 25] In 1996 he was elected Vice-President of CODATA. He served on the Executive Committee from 2004 to 2010 and was elected Vice-President for a second time in 2010.
As Director of the NIIC, Fedor led ‘a strong program in several areas of materials science: theoretical modeling; searching for new micro-electronic materials; developing quantitative methods for analyzing inorganic materials; and pursuing novel preparation techniques. A prominent physical chemist and materials scientist, he was instrumental in the development of a data bank on properties of electronic technology materials.’ [See CODATA@45 Years, p. 31]
From 2000 he chaired the CODATA Task Group on Data for Natural Gas Hydrates, which had the objective of developing a comprehensive information system on all aspects of these substances’. The Group aimed to find ‘ways to use modern information technologies for data and knowledge sharing to: achieve understanding of the role of natural gas hydrates in natural processes; find rational ways of exploiting gas hydrates resources; and prevent hazards resulting from uncontrolled eruptions of gases from gas hydrates deposits. Having received an ICSU grant as a measure of the importance of their work, the Group developed and published the Gas Hydrate Markup Language (GHML) in 2006 with a view to facilitating the interchange of rapidly increasing amounts of gas hydrate data among researchers worldwide.’ [See CODATA@45 Years, p. 38]
For me, Fedor was a long standing close friend for the last more than three decades. We successfully pursued collaborative research in some of the most advanced areas and jointly organized bilateral as well as international conferences in Russia and India. His scientific calibre and desire to link strong groups for ambitious projects was very remarkable.
Only last year the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) elected him as a Foreign Fellow. He was one of the four Foreign Fellows elected in 2013, including one Nobel Laureate. I had suggested to him to come to India in December to participate in our Anniversary meeting, but he promised to visit us in 2014. Unfortunately this will not happen now.
On personal level I have lost one of my closest friends.
Former CODATA Executive Director, Kathleen Cass writes:
I was very saddened when I received the news that Fedor had passed away. Justifiably and deservedly so, many tributes have been paid this week to Fedor for his outstanding scientific achievements during his long professional career both within and beyond the CODATA community.
For me I will always remember first and foremost the personal attributes of Fedor. I admired and respected his ability to understand different cultures, his political astuteness and sensitivity, his skill at making people feel at ease with expressing their opinions—even more so if those opinions differed from those of Fedor and his clever and intellectual wit. Above all, I admired Fedor’s strong conviction: if he truly believed in an activity he would professionally and eloquently defend it and successfully build support for the activity.
I recall with great affection and sincere appreciation his support to me during my years in CODATA. In short I thank you, Fedor, for your friendship and it is this friendship that I will truly miss.
Fedor Kuznetsov will be remembered by his CODATA colleagues for his good humour and wit, his warm personal greetings, his insightful contributions to Executive Committee debates and his indefatigable attitude toward personal health issues when they arose periodically. He will be sorely missed, but his wisdom and passion for CODATA and international data science will continue to inspire us.
The CODATA Executive Committee and Officers wish to express their profound regret at the passing of this distinguished, highly-esteemed colleague and friend. Our condolences go to Fedor’s family and friends.