In Memoriam: Ronald H.W. Hoppe, 1951–2023

Ronald H.W. Hoppe, professor of mathematics at the University of Houston, passed away on February 8 in Bad Bentheim, Germany. He was a highly respected and cherished member of the UH and global mathematics community, and his loss is felt profoundly by all who knew him.

Hoppe’s professional journey was remarkable and inspiring, and his contributions to the development and growth of applied and computational mathematics were significant on a global scale.

Ronald H.W. Hoppe

He was known for his contributions to the field of numerical partial differential equations and optimization, with a focus on multigrid methods, adaptive finite element methods, and optimal control problems. His work had real-life applications, such as microfluidic biochips and electrorheological fluids.

Hoppe joined the UH Department of Mathematics in 2002 as a tenured professor and continued to make significant contributions to his field until his passing. He will be remembered as a brilliant mathematician, an exceptional teacher, a supportive colleague, and a dear friend.

Born on April 10, 1951, in Nordhorn, Germany, Hoppe earned his diploma in mathematics with a secondary subject in physics from the Technische Universität Berlin in 1975. Four years later, he completed his doctoral thesis, and in 1986, obtained his habilitation, the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve in Europe.

Throughout his academic career, Hoppe held various academic positions at institutions across the globe, including the University of Linköping in Sweden and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in New York. He was appointed to the C3-Professorship at the Mathematical Institute of TU Munich in 1990 and later the C4-Professorship at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Augsburg.

He authored several books and over 200 scientific articles during his career and advised over 20 Ph.D. students and numerous postdoctoral fellows. His former Ph.D. students have gone on to advise almost 60 doctoral candidates. Hoppe also served on several editorial boards and had an impressive international network of friends and colleagues due to his natural scientific ability, patience, willingness to listen, affability, and love for conversation.

While at UH, he taught many graduate-level courses, including Optimization Theory, Finite Element Methods, Numerical Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, and Optimization and Variational Methods.

During this difficult time, our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Hoppe’s family, friends, and colleagues.

To pay tribute and celebrate his extraordinary achievements, the UH Department of Mathematics will hold an event on campus in Spring 2024.