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Tribute to Jorge Dias de Deus, professor at IST and founder of CENTRA

Feb. 01, 2021

Jorge Dias de Deus, a distinguished professor at IST and founder of CENTRA, has passed away on February 1, 2021.

Jorge studied Chemical Engineering at IST, went to Imperial College and Copenhagen specializing in particle physics, and came back to IST to do first rate work in several directions.

In physics, in 1973 in Copenhagen, he developed the idea of geometric scaling which gave new insight into the scaling laws for the partons, i.e., quarks and gluons, the main constituents of the protons and neutrons.

As a professor he showed he was a real physicist as he delivered courses in many different areas of physics. When there was a gap that no one could fill, Jorge was there to give that course out of the blue.

He wrote several books for the public understanding of science, the one we most like is Science, Curiosity and Malediction, of 1986, which is remarkable in creativity and wittiness.

He was at different times President of the Physics Department and also President of IST.

He kickstarted the Engineering Physics Course at IST in 1990, the course that nowadays has the best students of the country and makes the Physics Department a thriving department.

Jorge was the founder and the first president of CENTRA, our Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation, in 1994. Although he was a particle physicist, he had the great vision that the future was in astrophysics, gravitation, and cosmology, and started to promote a group, and then a center, that could wonder about these things. He proved he was totally right. CENTRA is now 27 years old, is in full flight, and our scientific area is receiving Nobel Prizes almost every other year, the latest one for black holes.

In 2011, CENTRA organized a conference, "The Multidisciplinary Universe", celebrating the 70th birthday of Jorge Dias de Deus and showing his versatility and multidisciplinarity in many areas, see here.

In March 6, this year, CENTRA is organizing the conference "The Many Aspects of Jorge Dias de Deus" with the participation of its members to evoke and thank the work developed by Jorge Dias de Deus in the foundation of the Multidisciplinary Center for Astrophysics, as he initially named it, i.e., the Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation, the current name that was also approved by him, in short, CENTRA. For this tribute from CENTRA see here.

Of course, the memory of this distinguished professor at IST and founder of CENTRA will last in all of CENTRA.