chromatography, a century of discovery 1900 - 2000, the bridge to the sciences / technology
edited by C.W.Gehrke, R.L.Wixom and E.Bayer, Elsevier (2001) ISBN 0-444 50114 2

Chapter 5, page 290 - 291, D.29. Rudolf E. Kaiser



     Rudolf E. Kaiser was born on February 12, 1930 in Teplitz- Schönau. He studied at both the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Leipzig in the German Democratic Republic and received his doctorate in 1954.
In 1952 he joined the Institute of Technical Chemistry of the German Academy of Sciences where he soon became Head of the Department of Separation Sciences.
In 1960 he left the GDR for the FRG, where he joined BASF as an Analytical Chemist.
Here he stayed until 1972 when he founded his own Institute for Chromatography (IfC) (in Bad Dürkheim), which celebrated its 25th jubilee in 1998 and in which thousands of chromatographers from all over the world (from more than 50 countries) have been trained in all aspects of chromatography.

    R. E. Kaiser has organized and taught many courses in other countries throughout the world.
       The research activities of R. E. Kaiser span the entire field of chromatography, especially capillary gas and planar chromatography, as well as statistical evaluation of analytical results, and computer application.
       R. E. Kaiser has authored more than 200 publications and numerous books, he also acted as Editor and Co-editor of many more. His first book on “Gas Chromatographie” was published in 1959 in East Germany. His four volume series “Chromatographie in der Gasphase” published in 1961 represents the first book on quantitative gas chromatography. It went through three editions in West Germany and was translated into English. One of the volumes of this series represents the first book in the world on capillary gas chromatography.
       R. E. Kaiser founded the well-known international journals ‘Chromatographia’ (1968), ‘Journal of High Resolution Chromatography and Chromatography Communication’ (1978), ‘Computer Application in the Laboratory’ (1983). He also played a key role in the founding of the ‘Journal of Planar Chromatography’ (1988). He was for many years Editor-in-Chief or an Editorial Board member of these journals.
       R. E. Kaiser started the following series of Symposia and was for many years their chairman: International Symposium on Capillary Chromatography (since 1975: Hindelang, now in Riva del Garda); International Symposium on Planar Chromatography (since 1980: Bad Dürkheim, then Interlaken-CH, now Budapest HU); International Symposium on Chromatography and Spectroscopy in Environmental Analysis (since 1994: St.Petersburg-RUS)
       R. E. Kaiser’s achievements in chromatography have been recognized by a number of awards: Tswett Medal of the USSR Academy of Science - as a first foreign recipient (Moscow, USSR, 1978); Gold Medal of the Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Chemical Society (Beijing, PRC, 1988); A.J.P. Martin Award (Brighton, UK, 1989); Marcel Golay Award (Riva del Garda, Italy, 1989); Tswett Medal of the Chromatograpic Society of Russia (Düsseldorf, 1995); the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, R. Herzog, has decorated R. E. Kaiser in 1996 with the 1st Class German Distinguished Medal for his contribution to environmental analysis and for his international activities in this field.
       Dr. R. E. Kaiser is one of the pioneers in chromatography, who became active in this field in
    1953. He has been active, enthusiastic, inspiring, creative and original promoter of the development and applicability of chromatography in analytical chemistry for almost 50 years. He has a natural talent for finding fast and simple solutions for many problems encountered in the analysis of complex mixtures. R. E. Kaiser is an extraordinary person whose contributions to chromatography - also his books, his symposia and his journals - are well known and recognized.
    Chromatography is Rudolf Kaiser’s real hobby.
                                                                                         See Chapter 5B, a, b, d, s
    in the above mentioned book



Editorial Chromatographia 2010, 17, February (No. 3/4) 181-182
by H.Frank

Rudolf Kaiser celebrates his 80th birthday, a German pioneer in chromatography and the whole of separation science.

Born, raised, advancing, and maturing in a difficult and turbulent period of European and German history, and of history of science in general, he is a prime example for coming generations how to become and remain creative, be content with and convinced of what one is doing, and be able to fulfil a mission. Rudolf Kaiser is one of the most inspiring personalities in separation science who always was and still is able to infect others with his enthusiasm for the beauty of scientific endeavour. Next to a remarkable string of scientific achievements, this has something to do with his upbringing in an atmosphere of cultural diversity and mutual insemination, as it was typical for Northern Bohemia and the city of Teplitz-Schoenau of the time when he was born on 12 February 1930, a few years before narrow-minded, envious, nationalistic extremists destroyed this productive environment.

Here and in these times he must have learned that established rules and convictions always have their antitheses, that nothing is engraved forever that grand structures crumble with time. Thus, he always had the insight and courage not to take anything for granted including his own contributions.

Rudolf Kaiser never had the ambition to build a monument of himself, always remaining open for criticism and new ideas, trying to look behind and beyond established rules. He almost is an incarnation of Erich Kaestners word Es gibt nichts Gutes ausser man tut es (No good exists except you do it). All his creativity and achievements are basically a consequence of this particular personal trait. So it is no surprise that he is remembered by most of us as an ardent lover of dispute and scrutiny for scientific truth but respecting fairness for the better argument  although this was not always granted to him by his turf partners.

Rudolf Kaiser continued to be curious, challenging engraved rules, to become a German scientist of truly unifying internationalism, culminating in the word attested to him almost a proverb that separation (science) unites people.

Already as young student he learned to appreciate the ways of others, for instance when right after the Second World War he was involved in the establishment of a chemical production unit in the ravaged and recovering Ukraine. He always hated doctrines and still is intriguingly freedom- minded; he once told me that in his opinion the most expensive luxury good is the freedom to stay with the truth obviously being prepared to pay the price when needed.

So it is no surprise that, after having finished his studies and doctorate at an amazingly young age of 24, he could not stand it to remain longer than six more years in the dogmatic environment of the GDR where the old Prussian regime had survived under a different flag, where human rights were not regarded highly.

Being escaped to the BRD in 1960, as employee of BASF for the next 12 years he not only introduced modern capillary gas chromatography into the industrial practice with new instrumental developments including the production of own gas chromatographs and other technical improvements, but also published in 1961 (written in the late fifties) one of the first comprehensive text books on gas chromatography (Chromatographie in der Gas Phase) and in 1968 founded this Journal, CCHROMATOGRAPHIA, as the first German scientific periodical in this field.

Nevertheless, it was clear that with for the inquisitive mind of Rudolf Kaiser an employment at BASF could not be the end of his aspirations, and so the foundation of the Institute for Chromatography (IfC) in Bad Duerkheim in 1972 was the next logical step. From now on he had the freedom to realize his dreams and convictions, with the assistance of his long-time co-worker Rudi Rieder and with the unconditional loving support of his first wife Annemarie and, after she had passed away, his second wife Olga.

With his typical energetic drive, Rudolf Kaiser created and expanded the IfC to become a foremost international research and teaching institution where more than 7,000 chromatographic practitioners from over 50 countries were inspired: Gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, thin layer chromatography, optimization of resolution, sample preparation and enrichment, quantification under particular emphasis of how to reach ultimate precision and accuracy, and especially the use of computers to facilitate all these goals avoiding the tediousness of routine work, these were his topics. In addition to the work at home, Rudolf Kaiser helped to build bridges between colleagues, schools of thinking, countries, and continents by organizing similar courses abroad.

He did all this with an almost religious belief in his activities and ideas; sometimes his competitors and colleagues found this approach hard to accept, especially when he sometimes in his enthusiastic way was simplifying in order to translate complicated matters in favour of a spontaneous, intuitive transmission.

His scientific contributions are laid down in more than 200 publications and about 20 books. But he continued in an even wider scope to the dissemination of separation science by founding a second scientific periodical, i.e. the Journal of High Resolution Chromatography (today Journal of Separation Science), and by helping with the birth of a third one, the Journal of Planar Chromatography.

Perhaps even more important for the advancement of separation science are his foundations of several series of symposia, especially the Hindelang Symposia, being started in 1975 and the root of todays most successful Symposia on Capillary Chromatography in Riva del Garda, as well as (since 1980) the International Symposium on Planar Chromatography and        (since 1994) the International Symposium on Chromatography and Spectroscopy in Environmental Analysis.

With all these initiatives and achievements, it was nothing more than logical that his contributions to the advancement of separation science were recognized by being awarded as the first foreign recipient of the Tswett Medal of the Academy of Science of the USSR in 1978, of the Gold Medal of the Chinese Academy of Science in 1988, the A.J.P. Martin Award of the UK and the Marcel Golay Award of the Riva Symposium Series, both in 1989 and more.

Last but not least, for his international activities and his momentous contributions in using chromatography for the well-being of people, he was honoured in 1996 by the President of the Federal Republic with the First Class Distinguished Medal of Germany.

But even with these achievements, the Rudolf Kaiser with his untiring spirit did not go to rest. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Rudolf Kaiser immediately accepted his task, having been citizen on both sides, to help healing the deep scar it had left in the world. So it was nothing more than logical that he started in the early nineties, with the help of his wife Olga being a native of Russia, by giving courses and seminars to colleagues in the petrochemical industry until a few years ago, to help to overcome the difficulties of transition in this country.

Nowadays, in our times of globalization, he is active in exploring the possibilities of using the Internet for worldwide dissemination of knowledge and communication between colleagues, eventually to arrive at a cosmopolitan chromatography network in which transcontinental on-line experiments and analyses may become reality in analogy to Rudolf Kaisers beliefthat separation unites perhaps even the whole world ?

In spite of his name, Rudolf Kaiser was never out for building empires, but I suspect that for this reason he lived and lives a happy life. What we can learn from him is that in accord with a word of Albert Schweitzer: Success is not the key to happiness by itself but that with the love to what we are doing we will be successful and happy.

We must be grateful for his lifes example, and we are proud of him.


DOI: 10.1365/s 10337-010-1489x


Editorial Chromatographia 2010, 17, February (No. 3/4) 183-1824
by H.- P. Angele and H. G. Struppe :

80th Birthday of Rudolf Kaiser


A full editorial of Rudolf Kaisers scientific career appeared in Chromatographia in 2000, 51:137–138. DOI: 10.1007/BF02490554,
in honour of his 70th birthday.

Below is an account of his early days in Leipzig supplied by his colleagues of those days, Hans-Peter Angele and Hans Georg Struppe.

Memories of Rudolf E. Kaiser

In the late 1950s Rudolf Kaiser was one of the first in Germany to appreciate the enormous advance in separation power made by gas liquid- (as opposed to gas-solid) chromatography and its applications in the organic chemical industry in Leipzig.
He developed a highly sensitive thermal conductivity cell and produced complete GC instruments from the Leipzig Academic Institutes mechanical workshops. In April 1958 he held the first course on GC in consequence of which the (East German) working group of gas chromatography was founded. This was followed by the first symposium in East Germany on the subject.

A few months later he heard that the First All-Union Conference on Gas Chromatography in the USSR was to be held in Moscow. He wished to participate in this meeting and to talk about the results and application of GC in the GDR.

To attack greater importance to his report he requested the company of S. Rennhak chief analyst of Leuna, the largest chemical enterprise of the GDR, J. Fischer from Boehlen who had developed an automatic process gas chromatograph, R.Aust, the analyst from the BUNA-Factory, and one of his young assistants, H.G. Struppe.
Permission for the trip was given shortly before the date of take-off,  and consequently the flight was entirely overbooked but Kaiser went to Berlin and succeeded in persuading high-ranking representatives of the airline to fly the party on a mail plane. Mail-bags were stowed away on six of the twenty-eight seats, and we five passengers had free choice of seats and a luxurious service from the stewardess which could not been better in business class. The stewardess explained that the pilot was not yet qualified to carry passengers and was making the trip to acquire sufficient flying time !

After stopover in Minsk we safely landed in Moscow in the late evening. Kaisers report, translated into Russian word by word, was followed by discussions and personal contacts especially with A. A. Zhukhovitskii and Prof. A. V. Kiselev who had been working on gas-solid chromatography for many years.

Soon after this meeting there was a high-ranking visit of Prof. Nesmanyanov president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences together with Prof. Kabatchnik to the Leipzig Academy Institute. They were shown the Institutes laboratories and the  new home-made GC instruments.  Fortunately, H.-P. Angele, then a co-worker of Kaiser, could explain the function and applicability of these devices in fluent Russian. The guests from Moscow were very impressed and at the end a contract was signed which included mutual working visits and soon delivery of a GC instrument to the Selinskij Institute of Organic Chemistry in Moscow. Of course Rudolf Kaiser (not yet 30 years old) felt very honoured by the interest from Moscow and confirmation of his ideas by the Russians would help to introduce GC in his country and claim more support from authorities and trade organisations.
He could be sure of the full backing  by his co-workers.
The prototype instruments used in Leipzig were much too big for transportation by air so he started to develop a new type of GC with a cylindrical air-bath oven, the usual thermal conductivity cell and a packed column and also the new flame-ionisation detector and a capillary column.
A very experienced physical assistant, Manfred Kuhl and some fresh young chemists became Kaisers aids. Out of this hectic development there grew a complete efficient instrument in the Leipzig Institute that only required the addition of a strip chart recorder

Capillary gas chromatography was a new field of exploration then and Kaisers first public presentation of a capillary chromatogram was only recent (Lecture Gas chromatographic analysis of motorfuels, cit.
Freiberger Forschungshefte, 1961, A 192, S. 205-216)

The instrument for Moscow was equipped with an aluminium capillary column and tested.

Meanwhile the invitation for a lecture and instrument demonstration arrived from  Moscow. It was agreed that Hans- Peter Angele, the chemist most involved should accompany Kaiser to Moscow. The instrument was carefully packed in a plywood box marked UP and DOWN NOT TILT in yellow paint in big letters in German and Russian.The expedition with Kaiser, Angele and the cases started from border control point airport Schoenefeld on 28th March 1960 to Moscow. Even the start in Berlin was extraordinary, but on the intermediate stop at Vilnius, then the Lithuanian Soviet Republic, the two scientists were closely inspected by Passport Control and Customs. The cases came into the arrival hall, upside down and damaged. However the authorities were not interested in the condition of the equipment and allowed its further progress. After this somewhat traumatic arrival we were invited for dinner to the airport restaurant where a properly set table awaited us. The second part of the flight and the arrival in Moscow passed off without incident and the passengers plus cases were heartily welcomed by the Russians.

The Laboratorija imeni N. D. Selinskogo, abbreviated to LINDS, was situated in the centre of Moscow near Gorki Street in the historical buildings of the Chemical Faculty of the University. Our cases were deposited in a corner of this laboratory and the travellers were accommodated in the outskirts, in the Rest house for incoming scientists for the next two weeks
The following days were filled with installing the instrument, gas supplies  electrical cables, etc. with questions and answers through an interpreter. The installation and repair of transport damages was somehow more difficult than expected but fortunately the German chemists had some tools and spare parts


And so, after some days, Rudolf Kaiser, the great magician, printed the first chromatograms on the strip chart recorder. An important colloquium in the Institute and an impressive demonstration of our gas chromatograph were the final success of this stay in Moscow.

Both authors of this report think back with pleasure to a time of happy partnership with Rudolf Kaiser half a century ago. His eightieth birthday is a good occasion to recall these times and to wish him further scientific success, health and personal fortune.