His first journal paper (1981) was on ‘Phonon scattering by electrons and low-energy excitations in a metallic glass’ [Solid State Commun. 39 (1981) 591], and an early paper ‘The evaluation of hyperfine field distributions in overlapping and asymmetric Mössbauer spectra: a study of the amorphous alloy Pd77.5–xCu6Si16.5Fex’ [J. Phys. F 13 (1983) 675] is now very well cited (205 cites). His work on containerless solidification started when he moved to the DLR (then the DFVLR) near Cologne. The key first paper ‘Containerless undercooling of bulk Fe-Ni melts’ [Appl. Phys. Lett. 49 (1986) 1339] now has 72 citations. This work was at first largely based on electromagnetic levitation (EML). Dieter is prominent in developing this and other methods to achieve containerless undercooling and solidification. Dieter’s work has also greatly advanced our understanding of the properties of liquids, particularly undercooled liquids: enthalpy, specific heat, surface tension, viscosity, liquid-liquid phase separation, short-range ordering. Dieter’s publication record is excellent. Looking at the Web of Science on today’s date, he has 291 papers, attracting some 350 citations per year, and with a Hirsch index of 44. His most cited publication is his review ‘Nonequilibrium solidification of undercooled metallic melts’ [Mater. Sci. Eng. R 12 (1994) 177] (375 cites).
Dieter has consistently been a leader in his field in particular he has, as sole author or as the leader of co-authors, been responsible for several key review articles that have served to define the field and identify key issues for future research. Throughout his carrier he has led many prominent research collaborations, ranging from an early EU Brite-Euram project to DFG Schwerpunkt programmes. His efforts have been very influential, for example in attracting support for comparative studies of metallic and colloidal systems. Most importantly he is the eminent person in the field of containerless processing and solidification – thereby setting priorities for future research funding. Additionally he has chaired European Space Agency, and other, committees and working groups.