Pim Groen passed away

News - 08 May 2020

We are very sad to report that Pim Groen, Professor and Chairman of Aerospace Structures and Materials, passed away on Wednesday 6 May 2020.

Dean Henri Werij: "We can hardly believe this terrible news. Our energetic colleague Pim, who always showed so much passion and dedication, has been taken away from us. When Pim was appointed as chairman of the Department Aerospace Structures and Materials less than a year ago, he was full of ideas for his Department and the Faculty as a whole. I am sure everybody could feel his drive. Who could ever imagine that right after returning from a trip to Patagonia and Antarctica, his cough was more than a severe cold? Even after getting devastating news from the hospital, Pim continued working for his Department, his PhD candidates, and our students. This sudden news shocks all of us who hear it and we stay silent in disbelief.”

Pim Groen was Professor of Smart Materials in the research group Novel Aerospace Materials at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. Together with the people in his group, he focused on the development of smart, multifunctional materials, such as piezoelectric composites. This technology can, among other things, increase the usability of wireless sensors that monitor the need for maintenance in hard-to-reach areas of aircraft. These sensors now run on batteries, the piezoelectric materials generate their own power. Chairholder Sybrand van der Zwaag: "Pim was a scientist who managed to translate his deep knowledge of functional materials into real devices in a way that was characteristic of him. But above all, we will remember him as a teacher who was highly committed to the work and well-being of his students, his PhD students and all those with whom he worked.  Unfortunately, this has now come to an abrupt end. We hope that the inspiration Pim gave us will stay with us for a long time to come.” 

Pim Groen graduated in Chemistry from the University of Leiden in 1987. In 1990 he obtained his PhD on the subject of ceramic superconductors. From 1987 to 2002 Groen worked for Philips Research in both the Netherlands and Germany and then as R&D manager for the company Morgan Electroceramics. From January 2008 to September 2011 Groen worked as head of the Materials Performance group at TNO Science & Industry. From 2011 he was programme manager 'Large Area Printing' and 'Printed Conductive Structures' at the TNO Holst Centre. In 2009 Pim Groen joined the Novel Aerospace Materials department in the field of smart materials and sensors. In 2012, he became Professor of the Smart Materials chair at this group. He combined this position with his work at the Holst Centre. 

Pim Groen was actively involved in online education. The colleagues at the New Media Centre made this beautiful, personal video about Pim during the recordings of his online courses. 

Henri Werij: "Personally I know Pim from my time at TNO, where he also stood out for his ideas, his drive and the unselfish loyalty to his people. For his colleagues in the Management Team he was a true team member. When I think of all the students he supported and supervised - be it during lectures, DSE, thesis work or study tours - I know that there will be great sadness and disbelief here as well. Everything he taught both students and colleagues will remain with us. These lessons are  priceless.”

We are incredibly sad that Pim’s decease has come so soon and in the midst of the corona pandemic. We will miss him terribly at the Faculty. Our thoughts are with Pim's wife Nelleke, his family and his friends and colleagues.  

A book of condolence will be placed in the central hall of the faculty from Friday 8 May. Would you like to leave a message in the book, but are you currently working from home? Please e-mail your message to Servicepunt-LR@tudelft.nl. We will then make sure the message will be included in the book. 

Henri Werij, Rinze Benedictus, Aldert Kamp, Eberhard Gill, Fulvio Scarano, Jacco Hoekstra, Joyce ten Berge, Paul van der Voorst, Willem Eleveld 

Management Team Faculty of Aerospace Engineering 

In Memoriam Pim Groen 

In 2009 Pim (W.A.) Groen joined the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering as a part time (0.2 fte) professor to lead the SMART materials research in the Novel Aerospace Materials (NovAM) group. Pim was already known to us as a national and international renowned scientist in the field of piezo-electric materials and an initiator of new technological research at the Holst Centre. Although restricted by the limited size of his appointment Pim rapidly established his reputation as a highly motivated and dedicated educator both for his MSc and PhD students and the students attending his course.  Pim was always very generous in spending his time with the students and even working side-by-side with them in the lab to transfer his fantastic experimental skills.  Pim was not only interested in students but also rapidly established personal contacts with other ASM researchers and staff of other departments.  He very quickly grew in his role as a real ‘professor’, which was one of his ambitions in life. So, over time his appointment grew to a 0.8 fte position to enable him to spend more of his time on the research and management of the department. In his TUD position he supervised 15 MSc students, 8 PhD students, wrote over 40 publications and, last but not least, his famous book “An Introduction to Piezoelectric Materials and Applications”.  We are sure he will be remembered not only in Delft but also in the national and international research communities working in the field of smart materials. Our thoughts are with his wife Nelleke, his family and his numerous friends.   

Sybrand van der Zwaag, on behalf of all past and present members of NovAM.