Edith Alice Müller (1918-1995)

Edith Alice Müller was born on February 5 1918 in Madrid (Spain). She attended the German School there, and after having obtained her Maturity diploma in June 1936, she went to the University of Zürich. In 1943, she presented a PhD thesis on “The application of group theory and structural analysis to the Moorish adornments of the Alhambra in Granada”.

From 1946 to 1962, she held various research positions at the Swiss Federal Observatory in Zürich, the Cambridge University Observatory (UK), the Michigan University Observatory (USA),or the Basel University. In 1962 she came back in Switzerland, as Associate Professor both in the Geneva Observatory and the Neuchâtel University Observatory, and was promoted full Professor in the University of Geneva in 1972, position she held until she officially retired in 1983.

Her main research achievements were in the domain of solar spectroscopy, among which the famous GMA paper (Goldberg, Müller, and Aller 1960) on the abundances of the elements in the solar atmosphere. Another very important research concerned the effects of deviations from the local thermodynamic equilibrium on the solar abundances (Müller & Mutschlecner 1964).

Besides her research activities, Edith Müller was very much involved in the International Astronomical Union where she served successively as Secretary, member of the Organising Committee, Vice-President and President of various commissions, and from 1976 to 1979 as IAU General Secretary.

She died on July 24 1995 from a heart attack during holidays in Spain.

source: Yves Chmielewski, in Remembering Edith Alice Müller, Springer 1998