The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is greatly saddened by the passing of Professor Hans-Peter Künzi while on sabbatical in Switzerland. Professor Künzi passed away on Saturday, 8 August 2020.
Professor Künzi was the leader of the Topology Research Group at UCT, but his support also extended to cooperation with colleagues working in category theory, algebra and analysis.
Born in 1955 in Switzerland, Professor Künzi obtained his PhD from the University of Bern. He first came to UCT in the 1980s as a postdoctoral student of Professor Guillaume Brümmer. He returned to UCT when, after appointments in various capacities in Europe and the United States, he was appointed in 2000 as a full professor in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. In 2011 he became a UCT Fellow.
Professor Künzi was highly respected internationally for his research, as evidenced by his A-rating by South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF). He was a leader in his primary area of research: aspects of asymmetric topology. Professor Künzi was awarded a number of grants by the Swiss National Science Foundation and was the principal investigator on a number of NRF-sponsored research projects. In July 2004 he was the main organiser of the 19th Summer Conference on Topology and its Applications – one of the largest annual conferences in his field, held at UCT that year.
Over the years Professor Künzi published, with numerous co-authors, over 200 articles in his field and in the areas of order and combinatorics. He was on various editorial boards, including Quaestiones Mathematicae and the Journal of the South African Mathematical Society, and supervised many research students.
His willingness to take on the position of the head of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics from August 2012 to December 2016 was a clear indication of his commitment to the well-being of the department.
We will all miss him. He was very supportive of our individual efforts and initiatives – even when they were not necessarily in his direct line of research.
Professor Künzi is survived by two sisters, Jacqueline Cortesi-Künzi and Henriette Seippel-Künzi.
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