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Ljubo Golic (1932-2007)

[Ljubo Golic]
Sadly Ljubo Golic came to the end of his very fruitful life in July 2007 just after his 75th birthday. He was a first-class scientist, who was highly respected in the international scientific and crystallographic community, and who persistently promoted the development of chemical and structural crystallography, not only in Slovenia. Through his scientific work he had a great impact on neighbouring university centres. Almost forty years ago he was a founder of regular annual crystallographic conferences, organized by the Yugoslav Centre of Crystallography, under the auspices of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, Croatia. He attended most of the meetings, vigorously discussing crystallographic matters, as well as many other topics, including mountain climbing in the Alps.

In 1974 Golic obtained an automatic X-ray diffractometer, built a modern X-ray lab and gathered a group of young coworkers in Ljubljana. This was the first instrument of its kind in Southeast Europe outside the Iron Curtain, and it had a tremendeous impact on the development of crystallography in Slovenia and neighbouring countries.

The crystallographic accomplishments and conferences held annually in Yugoslavia led to the selection of Ljubljana as the venue of the 13th European Crystallographic Meeting in 1991. Golic was the Chair of the Organizing Committee for that Meeting, and the Secretariat of the Meeting operated out of Ljubljana. Due to the outbreak of civil war in Yugoslavia the venue had to be moved to Trieste. The change of the venue on such short notice was a very difficult challenge for Golic, Boris Kamenar (Zagreb) and their colleagues on the Organizing Committee, but with tremendeous effort and the generous help of Italian friends ECM-13 was successfully held in Trieste.

After the desintegration of Yugoslavia, Ljubo Golic, Boris Kamenar, Stanko Popovic and I gathered in the spring of 1992 in the castle of Mokrice, Slovenia, and decided to continue annual crystallographic gatherings, as bilateral Slovenian-Croatian meetings (when the venue was in Slovenia) or Croatian-Slovenian meetings (when the venue was in Croatia). This year we had the 16th CRO-SLO meeting in Petrcane, near Zadar, Croatia. Ljubo Golic’s name will live on in these annual meetings.

He was a cheerful person, but a strict and fair teacher, who was diligent and precise in his work. He received the highest scientific awards in Slovenia for his scientific and teaching activities. He was very helpful to his co-workers and had a major role in my academic career and my study in England. In the 1970s we collected multi-layer film data on Weissenberg and precession cameras in Ljubljana and estimated intensities by eye. It took six months to collect the data that had to be punched onto cards. Golic made his own Patterson -Tunnell strips and it was very exciting to see the atomic structures drawn on equally spaced glass plates. He was technically gifted and had a large collection of precision tools. There was always a small screw driver in the pocket of his gown in case something should go wrong. He was often able to repair our diffractometers, which was critically important because the service visits to our country in those days were quite expensive.

Crystallographers, scientists in related fields, colleagues and friends will long remember Ljubo Golic. His coworkers and students, inspired by his love of crystallography, will continue his work. All of us miss him and his inspiring leadership very much.

Ivan Leban with coworkers
Fac. of Chemistry and Chem. Technology, U. of Ljubljana, Slovenia