In memoriam: Herbert Knauer, 1931-2024
Jan 24 2024
The global laboratory industry mourns the loss of Dr-Ing Herbert Knauer, a visionary entrepreneur and the esteemed founder of Knauer, a distinguished lab equipment manufacturer based in Berlin. Dr Knauer, whose unwavering passion for chemistry and innovative ideas in high-tech laboratory instruments shaped the industry, passed away peacefully at the age of 92 on Thursday 18 January 2024, at his home, surrounded by his family.
The announcement of Dr Knauer's passing by Knauer highlighted not only his role as the founder of the company but also emphasised his profound impact as a mentor and strategic thinker. Carsten Losch, Managing Director of Knauer, expressed heartfelt sentiments, stating: "Dr. Knauer was more than our founder; he was an exceptionally open-minded individual - a mentor and advisor who generously shared his wealth of knowledge and experience, influencing the trajectory of the company."
Born in Berlin Karlshorst in 1931, Herbert Knauer's academic journey led him to the Technical University of Berlin, where he initially studied business administration before pivoting to his true passion, chemistry. His academic pursuits culminated in a doctorate in engineering in 1958, focusing on ion reactions in absolute diethyl ether.
In 1962, Dr Knauer, alongside his wife Roswitha, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by founding Knauer in Berlin-Schmargendorf. Starting as a modest endeavour in their kitchen, the company gained recognition for its electronic temperature measuring devices and later for pioneering osmometers.
The early 1970s marked a pivotal shift as Knauer, under Dr Knauer's guidance, ventured into the development of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system modules. The introduction of modular HPLC systems in that era not only set industry standards but also played a pivotal role in the widespread adoption of this analytical technology globally.
Throughout his tenure, Dr Knauer received numerous accolades, including gold medals at the Leipzig Trade Fair and the Berlin-Brandenburg Innovation Prize, underscoring Knauer's innovative spirit. In 2000, he passed the torch to his daughter Alexandra Knauer, marking a transition while retaining an advisory role.
Even after the transfer of company shares, Dr Knauer remained actively engaged, witnessing Knauer's expansion into new frontiers, such as systems for the production of lipid nanoparticles. German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel, during a visit to the company on 10 September 2021, lauded Knauer as a ‘jewel of the German SME sector’.
Dr Herbert Knauer's enduring legacy is epitomised by his daughter Alexandra's leadership, the company's growth, and its sustained success. Knauer expresses confidence that Dr Knauer's profound impact on the realms of science and technology will be a timeless tribute.
Dr Herbert Knauer is survived by his wife of 61 years, Roswitha, and beloved daughters and grandchildren - a testament to a life devoted to family, scientific pursuit, and technological advancement.
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