It is with profound sadness that we inform the University of Johannesburg (UJ) community about the passing away of Professor Reinhard Richard (Rein) Arndt. He passed away on Wednesday, 1 January 2020, aged 90.
Professor Arndt served for twelve years as the first Head of the Department of Chemistry at the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and is widely recognised as among South Africa’s visionary science leaders and research strategists.
In paying tribute to Prof Arndt, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, said: “Prof Arndt played a pivotal role in establishing the former Rand Afrikaans University in the 1960s, and led the formidable Department of Chemistry that we have today. As a renowned scientific researcher, he has contributed immensely to the formation and growth of many science programmes under the Foundation for Research Development (FRD), now known as the National Research Foundation (NRF).
“He also led a number of research initiatives under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), among many other scholarly roles. He was an outstanding academic and researcher who helped lay the foundation for science in our country. May his family, friends and colleagues find strength during this difficult time.”
After matriculating at Grey College in Bloemfontein in 1947, Prof Arndt studied organic chemistry and business science, obtaining a DSc from the University of the Orange Free State (1959) and an MBA from the University of Pretoria (1957). His appointment at the CSIR in 1955 marked the beginning of a highly productive research period in his career, focused on the study of novel alkaloids. He left in 1967 to become part of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the launch of RAU. At RAU, Prof Arndt established the chemistry department, which he headed for 12 years. His next academic post was as professor of organic chemistry at Stellenbosch University from 1979 to 1980. He returned to the CSIR as deputy president in 1981, where he played a key role in reformulating and restructuring the organisation in a fast-changing environment. He retired as FRD President in 1996.
A memorial service to celebrate his life and honour his legacy will be held on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 at 11:00, at the Lutheran Church, 26 Hofmeyr Street, in Stellenbosch.
To read more about Prof Arndt, please click here.