Marlies Teichm├╝ller
by P.K. Mukhopadhyay (Muki)
from TSOP Newsletter 17 (4), December 2000

Marlies Teichmuller, a legendary organic petrologist and a geologist, died on September 12, 2000 at the age of 85. It is a great loss for the societies that are dealing with organic matter in sediments and to her broader friend circle in the earth sciences community. I lost one of my mentors and friend of 25 years.

During my stay in Aachen, Germany between 1975-1976, I first met her and Mr. Teichmuller in Krefeld, Germany at a special meeting honoring Prof. E. Stach. During that period of my stay in Germany, I had several microscope sessions with Marlies addressing various issues on the organic matter fluorescence.

Those sessions have thrown new light on my views about maceral identification and have changed some of my earlier concepts on maceral genesis. During 1980-1985, I used to visit her in Krefeld occasionally. During that time, she also used to visit the institute (ICH-5) in KFA, Juelich, Germany. I will always cherish my moments about her especially with respect to our discussions on various aspects of organic petrology. I have always enjoyed sitting down with her at the microscope and discussing various aspects of amorphous organic matter. I had observed her passion to build new dynamic concepts on organic petrology. During my short stay in Juelich in 1999, I wanted to visit to her on her 85th birthday. I was unable see her due to strict restrictions from her doctor for visitors. However, I was extremely delighted to know later when I heard from her relatives that she had asked about me and sent good wishes to me. As a person she had always been a very gentle, kind-hearted, and a wonderful human being.

In her early days (1930's through 1950's), Marlies was associated with two renowned organic petrologists in Krefeld, Germany. One of them is the famous coal petrologist Prof. E. Stach and the other is the well-known palynologist Dr. R. Potonie. Between 1950 and 1993, she became one of the most prolific writers in the science of coal and organic petrology and their applications to various aspects of earth sciences. During that time, she had published innumerable articles on that subject in both English and German languages. She was one of the main driving forces for the publications of three editions of coal/organic petrology and ICCP Handbook. At the age between 80 and 83, she worked extremely hard in contributing and pushing for the publication of "Organic Petrology" (Publ. Gebruder Borntraeger, Berlin-Stuttgart) that came out in 1998. Her intuitive vision has inspired innumerable organic petrologists, geologists, and organic geochemists of the world throughout her working career (1950-1999).

She was one of the founding members of the International Committee of Coal and Organic Petrologists (ICCP) and an Honorary Member of the Society for Organic Petrology (TSOP). In 1984, TSOP has published an English (translated by N. Bostick) version of one of her most outstanding papers on fluorescence microscopy as a special issue. The 'International Journal Coal Geology' has already dedicated one volume (volume 13) as a tribute to her and her husband. Another short tribute to both of them was written by W. Kasig (1992; Int. Jour. Coal Geol. v. 21, p. 99-112).

As discussed earlier, she had published some outstanding papers on coal and organic petrology and their application to basin evolution and petroleum or coal exploration. Therefore, in memory of Marlies Teichmuller, I would like to mention some of these outstanding publications. These publications have pointed to new directions in the science of organic petrology that could be useful to all scientists throughout the world in the future.