Joachim Vieth (1925-2012)

Honorary member-researcher at the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (IRBV)

Honorary professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal

It is with regret that we have learned of the recent death of Professor Joachim Vieth (1925-2012), a founding member of the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (IRBV).

Professor Vieth was born in Germany, where he pursued his studies to the doctoral level (Dr. rer. nat. 1957) in natural sciences at the University of Saarbrücken. He then continued his education at the Université de Dijon (France), obtaining a Ph.D. in botany (1965).

He was hired as an associate professor of botany in the Université de Montréal’s Department of Biological Sciences in 1967, and became full professor in 1977. Recognizing the scientific potential in the proximity of a botanical garden to the institution known at the time as the Institut botanique (now the IRBV), he settled there to develop his research program in plant morphology and development, supervising master’s and doctoral students. Among the courses he taught in his long career, students will certainly recall his plant anatomy course, which was renowned throughout the province of Quebec.

In his early years as a researcher, Joachim Vieth and his graduate students were particularly interested in the comparative morphology of plant structures submitted to various chemical treatments. Later, he shifted his focus to the morphogenetic study of plants cultivated in vitro. In the 1980s, this led him to establish the in vitro laboratory that today still plays an important role in research and teaching at the IRBV.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Professor Vieth was a major contributor to the development of scientific activities and training the next generation of researchers at the Institut botanique. Although he officially retired in 1992, he remained actively involved at the IRBV for the next 15 years, through his research on floral morphology.

Joachim Vieth was deeply loyal to the IRBV, an institution he valued immensely. In fact, even in recent years, he stayed in touch with colleagues and expressed enthusiasm about their achievements. Those who knew him in one capacity or another, whether at the IRBV or the Department of Biological Sciences, will remember him as a generous individual, an open-minded and committed professor, and a passionate, rigorous researcher.

Denis Barabé,
Adjunct professor, Department of biological sciences, Université de Montréal
Founding member-researcher and adjunct member-researcher at the IRBV