Professor Pablo Etchegoin 1964-2013

Professor Pablo Etchegoin 1964-2013

The Board and all the members of the MacDiarmid Institute were greatly saddened at the passing of Pablo Etchegoin on Monday 29 April. Pablo had battled against cancer for three years before finally succumbing. Our thoughts are with his family particularly Sofía and Julián, Pablo’s children.

Pablo joined Victoria University of Wellington and became a Principal Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute in 2003. In 2007 he became Professor of Nanotechnology. Pablo completed his undergraduate studies in Argentina, followed by a PhD in Germany with Manuel Cardona and then positions in Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, England, Centro Atomico Bariloche, Argentina and Imperial College London before coming to New Zealand.

Pablo’s main research interest was in the area of Raman Spectroscopy – a way of learning about a material from the light it scatters back from a laser beam; and plasmonics.  Pablo established and built within the MacDiarmid Institute at Victoria University of Wellington a state of the art laboratory.  Working closely with Eric le Ru, Pablo and his group defined the points of excellence and tension in Raman spectroscopy.  From determining more accurately the enhancement factor in Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy, to measuring the Raman signature of a single molecule to seeing the transfer of a single electron from a single molecule, Pablo set the level internationally and then continued to raise it over and over again.  He was an extraordinary scientist.

Pablo’s heroes included Woody Allen and he could give you quotes from pretty much every movie.  He had a fierce opinion on politics and as one would expect from a staunch Argentinean he had very specific opinions on American politics in particular.  He loved to swim and run and play football, he wrote poetry and counted his age in decades.  He was a dedicated father, his children, or the monsters as he would lovingly call them were his life.  Knowing that he would not have the opportunity to share their lives as they grew into adulthood was the greatest cost he could imagine.

Pablo’s quiet humour, kindness to others and his outstanding science will be greatly missed.

An obituary for Pablo commissioned by The Royal Society, co-authored by Eric Le Ru and Manuel Cardona can be found here.

MRS Bulletin dedicated it’s August issue to Pablo: “While this issue of MRS Bulletin was being assembled, the world of SERS and the world of science lost one of its most creative members. Professor Pablo Etchegoin, who co-authored one of the articles in this issue, died on April 29, 2013. We dedicate this issue to his memory.”

Pablo’s last publication Quantifying SERS Enhancements co-authored with Eric Le Ru.