Wittko Francke (1940-2020)   

Alain Lenoir Mis à jour 23-Mar-2021      

Wittko est mort le 29 décembre 2020 de la Covid avec une carrière entièrement à l'université d'Hambourg. Je connaissais un peu Wittko car avec Abaham Hefetz nous avons collaboré en écologie chimique, et cela a donné 4 belles publications. La collaboration a toujours été super facile et permettant d'avancer. Il a été longtemps co-éditeur de Chemoecology avec Jacques Pasteels, et responsable de la Société Internationale d'Ecologie Chimique (ISCE) où il a été nommé membre d'honneur en 2016.

Selon Jacques Pasteels (mail du 2 janvier 2021) : "Je connaissait très bien Wittko et son épouse Heidi, avec Cateline une chaleureuse amitié s’était construite. Il y aurait tant à dire sur Wittko. Outre son excellence en chimie analytique des sécrétions d’insectes servant notamment de phéromone, c’était un homme jovial, grand connaisseur de vins, en particulier de bourgogne, sensible et généreux. Nous avons plusieurs fois loger chez lui, il est venu pour ma retraite et lors des funérailles de Cateline.
Pour information, voici un site où tu peux trouver l’obtituary officiel de son université /https://www.chemie.uni-hamburg.de/fachbereich/news-fb/2020/20201229-wittko-francke.html

4 Publications avec A Lenoir
- Boulay, R., A. Hefetz, X. Cerdá, S. Devers, W. Francke, R. Twele and A. Lenoir (2007). Production of sexuals in a fission-performing ant: dual effects of queen pheromone and colony size. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61(10): 1531-1541. Pdf
- Dahbi, A., A. Lenoir, A. Tinaut, T. Taghizadeh, W. Francke and A. Hefetz (1996). Chemistry of the postpharyngeal gland secretion and its implication for the phylogeny of Iberian Cataglyphis species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Chemoecology 7: 163-171. Pdf
- Lenoir, A., A. Benoist, A. Hefetz, W. Francke, X. Cerdá and R. Boulay (2011). Trail-following behaviour in two Aphaenogaster ants. Chemoecology 21(2): 83-88. Pdf
- Ruano, F., A. Hefetz, A. Lenoir, W. Francke and A. Tinaut (2005). Dufour's gland secretion as a repellent used during usurpation by the slave-maker ant Rossomyrmex minuchae. Journal of Insect Physiology 51: 1158-1164. Pdf

Traduction de l'hommage officiel de l'université
"Prof. Dr. Dr. hc mult. Wittko Francke passed away December 29, 2020, by Chris Meier
On December 27, 2020, Professor Dr. Dr. hc mult. Wittko Francke at the age of 80. The reason for this obituary is deeply disturbing to me and I cannot deny my grief. But this obituary is intended to pay tribute to Wittko Franke. He was always a very good friend to me because I was allowed to spend the two decades at his side. I would like to pay tribute to the life's work and the human side of an outstanding scientist whose services to the subject of organic chemistry have received great national and international recognition. In addition, Wittko Francke played a key role in shaping and shaping the chemistry department at the University of Hamburg from his studies until his retirement.
He was born in Reinbek near Hamburg in 1940 and grew up there. From 1960 onwards, Wittko Francke ended up studying chemistry in the large city of Hamburg. The the State Chemical Institute - Institute for Organic Chemistry, University of Hamburg. At the same time, he completed his doctorate in Prof. K. Heyns' group, which was completed in 1973. Subsequently, he received an assistant at the University of Hamburg. he work of the following years led to his habilitation in 1979 at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. In 1985 Mr. Francke received a professorship for life at the Institute for Organic Chemistry at the University of Hamburg, where he has been a tive in research and teaching until retirement and bey
His scientific activities have received several awards: Carl Christiansen Memorial Prize (1980); Medal of Honor from the International Society of Chemical Ecology (1995); Otto Wallach plaque of the GDCh (1996); Karl Escherich Medal of the German Society for General and Applied Entomology (2005); and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Gothenburg (1997) and Lund (2005). Both awards also indicate his close relationship with Sweden and with cooperations that have been maintained over many years with Swedish working groups. Francke was made an honorary member of the International Society of Chemical Ecology in 2016. This award was not only given because of many international, interdisciplinary collaborations with biological research groups
Outstanding and prominent members of a scientific community are almost inevitably offered jobs in scientific societies and journals. So also to Mr. Francke: He was a member of the executive committee and president of the International Society of Chemical Ecology; Chairman and board member of the Liebig Association for Organic Chemistry of the GDCh; Chairman of the jury in the Young Europeans' Environmental Research competition; Chairman of the Technical and Scientific Advisory Board of GKSS, Geesthacht; Co-editor of the European Journal of Organic Chemistry, Chemoecology and Journal of Chemical Ecology. Furthermore, colleague Francke was and is active as a reviewer for various national and international scientific organizations.
It was a matter of course for him to support the chemistry department at the UHH in addition to his scientific work. This happened and continues to happen, on the one hand, in teaching, which I would like to discuss again later, and, on the other hand, in the sometimes enjoyable, but often strenuous, work in so-called academic self-administration, in which one is so often not self-determined but externally determined. As an example, I would like to remind you that, as the long-standing dean of the department, he played a key role in determining its fate. He was also involved in the 1st structural commission that led to the evaluation of the department at that time. I would also like to mention that, as chairman of the study reform committee, he played a key role in the development of the Bachelor's degree in chemistry.
This list of career stages or components sounds almost casual; a lot sounds natural. It is justified, however, by constant, hard scientific work and constant high exemplary commitment at all levels. Often even without considering your own well-being.
Fittingly, a quote from a former colleague who characterized him as follows: "... a scientifically fruitful colleague who selflessly put his work force at the service of maintaining the institute's functions ..."
Wittko Francke died on December 27th, 2020 from a Covid 19 infection. The department is losing an outstanding personality who has worked in the department for years after retirement. I will miss his open, generous, generous, critical advisory and helpful personality very much and will always keep him in very good memory. Also unforgettable are the numerous, extremely amusing meetings, some of which last until late at night, to test a wide variety of outstanding wines accompanied by culinary delicacies.
I mourn with the family. Rest in peace