International Society for Neutron Radiography (ISNR)

Eberhard Lehmann was born in Leipzig in Eastern Germany on 16th July 1952 where he also studied physics graduating on the topic of “Molecular dynamic calculations of proteins” in 1974. He received his PhD at the East German Academy of Science in East Berlin in 1983 with his thesis entitled: “Cross-section data of construction materials for the fast breeder reactor by reactivity measurements”. In the years between 1976 and 1990 Dr Lehmann was active in research in reactor physics for fast breeders based on calculations of reactor parameters with different reactor codes and experimental work at different reactor stations in several countries of the Eastern hemisphere.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain the Western world opened for the young physicist. He emigrated to Switzerland where he could apply his expertise and experience from 1991 to 1995 at the research reactor SAPHIR of the Paul Scherrer Institute.
1991 to 1995 as reactor physicist at the research reactor SAPHIR of the Paul Scherrer Institute. Given responsibility for core design and in particular neutron applications, he took his opportunity in the latter field and established the Swiss activities in neutron imaging starting in the mid 1990ties still at the SAPHIR reactor, which, however, was shut down in 1994.
As a reactor physicist without a reactor Dr Lehmann took his chances in the new spallation source project SINQ at PSI to establish neutron imaging at the new source. In an environment strongly dominated by neutron scattering, driving the source with applications of fundamental research in magnetism Dr Lehmann established a neutron imaging beamline, which became the reference for neutron imaging user service at large scale neutron sources in Europe and maybe even the world. Together with Burkhard Schillinger from TUM he introduced digital neutron imaging and tomography in Europe.
The user program at his neutron imaging instrument proved successful and Dr Lehmann was never tired to promote the technique nationally and internationally, to find fields of applications also beyond the main stream of non-destructive testing and established simultaneously a vivid scientific user program as well as a profitable service for industry.
He formed a group of experts contributing to nearly all fields of technical developments and applications as well as industrial service, which became a model for many state-of-the-art user instruments and imaging groups at large scale neutron sources as established today.
This included to add a second instrument dedicated to neutron imaging with cold neutrons just 10 years after the first one at SINQ. The new instrument ICON became a front runner in many modern developments utilizing monochromatic neutrons or other energy resolved techniques. Most notable grating interferometric imaging was pioneered by the ever growing group, which by the end of his career as an employee at PSI and group leader of the Neutron Imaging and Activation Group NIAG operated the two dedicated imaging beamlines NEUTRA and ICON, but also officially utilized up to 50% of two further instruments, BOA, a polarized testbeamline and POLDI, a time-of-flight diffractometer. In addition, his group is one of the driving forces and partners of the European Spallation Source (ESS) in establishing neutron imaging with a day-one instrument (ODIN) and to provide the software for imaging data analyses. Dr Eberhard also led his group from being a part of the Neutron Source Division to being a valuable and respected part of the Laboratory for Neutron Scattering and (now also) Imaging, which also underlines the successes in his time to prove the potential of neutron imaging not only for non-destructive testing but far beyond in material science and other fields of science, equivalent to (other) scattering techniques.
Dr. Eberhard Lehmann was not only in his active career a tiredless ambassador and forefighter of neutron imaging in particular at large scale facilities, an advisor to nearly all major imaging instrument projects at large scale sources but is still a very active and engaged member of the ISNR. After being a yearlong member of the board with the organization of the last world conference in Switzerland (WCNR-10, 2014) he became president and served between 2010 and 2014.
After his retirement in July 2017 he remains being an active member of the community, still serving on the ISNR board and as advisor in instrumentation projects, continuing his own research and being an ambassador of neutron imaging at large scale facilities.


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