Skip to main content
General News

In memoriam Werner Welzig

The former president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Werner Welzig, passed away on February 26, 82 years old. Our deepest condolences go to his family.

Without Werner Welzig, IMBA would not exist. As a literary scholar and President of Austrian the Academy of Sciences, he envisioned that the Academy needs new Life Sciences Institutes. With all his commitment, IMBA was founded and shortly after CeMM and GMI followed. The very first steps of IMBA were difficult as everything had to be built from scratch. Werner Welzig was probably the most eloquent promoter of Austrian science. Not only his ad hoc discourses on ceiling frescos and their mythological meanings were legendary. He stood out with his vision and pioneering spirit and he has shaped the country's research policy in a sustainable way.

Welzig was born on August 13, 1935 in Vienna, since 1968 he was professor for modern German literary history at the University of Vienna. As a linguist he was a specialist for Karl Kraus, "The Torch" is considered a highlight of his scientific work. He headed the ÖAW for twelve years, from 1991 to 2003. IMBA was founded during his tenure. With tireless commitment he has strengthened basic research in Austria. We will miss him and remember him in gratitude.

From us a literary memento to a great man and spiritual father of our institute, who always believed in the power of words: "A few light taps upon the window made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time has come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. Farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutant Shannon waves. It's falling, too, after every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifting on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the ingot thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last-ditch, upon which the dead and the dead. "(The dead, James Joyce").