A personal tribute to one of the founders of MD simulation of biological molecules: Prof Herman J.C. Berendsen (1934-2019)

On 7 October 2019, Prof Dr Herman Johan Christiaan Berendsen passed away shortly after his 85 birthday. Prof Berendsen is considered the founder of the molecular dynamics simulation of the biological system: the area of theoretical research that also shaped my scientific career. He worked at the University of Groningen in the picturesque Northern part of the Netherlands. There, I met him for the first time as it allowed me to conduct research in his lab during the last year of my doctorate researches training at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. After completing my doctorate, Herman allowed me to continue working in his group with a postdoc position within the “Protein Folding” EU Training network. This happened just two years before his retirement; therefore, I was also one of his last postdocs..

In 1999, when Herman retired, his colleagues at RUG and his friends organized an international conference in his honour at the University of Groningen. Recently, I could find in my historical collection of academic-related memorabilia the brochure reported below.

It was a fantastic event, and among the eminent speakers were the keynotes of two Nobel laureates: Prof. Richard Ernst and Prof. Rober Huber. After retirement, Herman dedicated himself to writing two books that distillate all his experience in molecular simulation [1] and physics education [2]. He stated in a project on the social scientific network Researchgate that “I am retired and work occasionally on methods for multiscale simulations.”

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