Farewell to Prof. Urai


24 years at the RWTH: Farewell to Prof. Urai

On a Lookout of Neaples Copyright: J. Urai

After completing his schooling in Hungary and his diploma in Structural Geology and Crystallogaphy at the "Rijksuniversiteit Leiden", Janos Urai moved to the "Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht" in 1980 for his doctorate. He graduated summa cum laude in 1983. He then spent his post-doctoral period at various American and Australian universities until he joined Shell in Rijswijk in 1989 as Senior Research Geologist.

Driven by his irrepressible spirit of research, Janos Urai moved to the RWTH in 1996 and gradually built up his teaching and research area "Geology - Endogenous Dynamics" (GED). In the beginning there was almost no infrastructure in his rooms, whereas today there are state-of-the-art laboratories for analogue experiments on rock deformation, microtectonics and scanning electron microscopy. Typical for Janos Urai is the cross-scale research from small-scale processes on a micrometer scale to large-scale tectonics on a scale of several hundred kilometers. The large-scale work was mainly carried out in Oman, a country to which he has been devoted for many years and in which half a dozen doctoral students and many master's students have carried out geological work under his supervision. He was also dean of the geosciences faculty at GUtech there from 2006 to 2012. His research passion is also focused on salt dynamics, i.e. the flow of salt underground, the formation of salt pillows and salt domes and the coupled fluid processes. In this context Janos Urai carried out a large number of research projects in Northern Germany, the Netherlands, but also in Oman.

The extensive research of Janos Urai would not have been possible without his great success in raising third-party funds for his professorship over many years. In addition to this acquisition of third-party funds, he has established his own company, MAP, which is very successfully active in the Lochnerstraße. Janos Urai was also for many years the library representative of the department (and the faculty) and chairman of the steering group for the university library. This commitment did not come by chance either, as he is also extremely active in publishing.

As a teacher, he was as inspiring as he was demanding. Especially his numerous excursions will be remembered for a long time. Those who made it through his hard school have usually achieved very good positions; for example, Chris Hilgers, who is now a W3 professor in Karlsruhe, or Christoph von Hagke, who will take up his W3 professorship in Salzburg in the winter semester 2020/21. Many others have achieved outstanding positions in oil companies.

With this undoubtedly very short review of his highly successful work at and for the RWTH, the department says goodbye and wishes Prof. Urai all the best for the future.


24 Years Janos Urai