In memoriam of Hugo Rietveld
On 16 July 2016 Hugo Rietveld, a Dutch pioneer of neutron and X-ray powder diffraction passed away at the age of 84. Born on 7 March 1932 in The Hague, he received his PhD in 1964 at the University of Western Australia in Perth where he studied X-ray and neutron diffraction techniques. He moved back to the Netherlands where he joined the neutron diffraction group of the Reactor Centrum Nederland in Petten.
Exactly 50 years ago Hugo Rietveld published the first successful attempt to directly refine the background-corrected integrated intensities of neutron powder patterns. Although at first his method did not get wide recognition in the scientific world, Hugo pursued his ideas. In 1977 his method was successfully applied to X-ray powder diffraction, leading to a rapid growth in the number of publications.
Nowadays the Rietveld refinement method is routinely used to refine crystal structures from powder diffraction patterns and to quantify mixtures of crystalline phases. Thousands of X-ray publications using Rietveld refinements are now published every year whereas their inventor often expressed his surprise about the enormous success of his method.
A pioneer has left this world; may he rest in peace.
We all from PANalytical want to express our deepest sympathy to his wife, children and grandchildren.