Prominent and successful chemistry professor Heino Nitsche, a fixture at UC Berkeley for over 30 years who recently helped confirm the existence of element 114 and 117, has died.
Nitsche, 64, passed peacefully in his sleep in Oakland on Tuesday, the university said in a news release. Cause of death was not known. He is survived by his wife, Martha Boccalini.
Nitsche was days from his 65th birthday and at the pinnacle of his career, winning the prestigious Hevesy Medal for outstanding achievements in radioanalytical and nuclear chemistry earlier this year, according to the university.
As a professor, he taught introductory Chem 1A as well as the lecture sessions, allowing younger students access to his acumen.
He first came to Berkeley in 1980 to work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he searched for new heavy elements.
He returned to Germany between 1993 and 1998 before returning to the university as a full professor, senior research scientist at LBNL and a founding director of LBNL's Glenn T. Seaborg Center, the university said.