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In memory of Arvid B. Maunsbach (1937 – 2023)

Arvid Bernhard Maunsbach, born May 9, 1937, passed away Sunday evening May 14, 2023, in Århus, Jylland, at the age of 86. We wish to extend our sincere condolences to Arvid’s wife, Kaarina Pihakaski-Maunsbach, his children and grandchildren.

Arvid Maunsbach was honorary member of the Nordic Microscopy Society (SCANDEM). On behalf of SCANDEM Board, I have the honour of presenting here a brief summary of Arvid Maunsbach’s life-long contribution to microscopical sciences and to the Nordic Microscopy Society. Arvid Maunsbach began his medical study in 1956 at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. During the first three years of study, he had a unique opportunity to visit University of California at Los Angelis as a research associate, to train on electron microscopy methods in ultrastructural studies. At the time electron microscopy was still a very new but fast-growing methodology. Arvid Maunsbach returned later to the University of California to work at the laboratory of Professor Fritiof Sjöstrand, whom he had known at Karolinska before Sjöstrand moved to California. In 1966, Arvid Maunsbach defended his doctoral thesis at Karolinska, including eight published papers based on ultrastructural studies he had performed in Sjöstrand laboratory. One of the articles in his thesis was re-published over 30 years later, 1997, in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology (8, 323-351), with the comment that his study had in a fundamental way increased the understanding of the kidney structure and function.

Only 32 years old, in 1970, Arvid Maunsbach was appointed professor of anatomy at Aarhus University, Denmark, but in 1971 he was also affiliated to Yale University, USA. At Aarhus, he successfully continued his research. Together with Professor Peter Leth-Jørgensen, he received the Novo Nordisk Prize 1991, in recognition of their pioneering work on the fundamental correlation between the structure and function of the kidney. During his professorship at Aarhus, he also attended administrative work, as prorector (1977-80) and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (1992-99). He retired in 2007.

Arvid Maunsbach was among the leading members of SCANDEM. Just a few months before he passed away, he gave the society the original hand-typed minutes of the founding meeting (Protokoll vid sammanträde den 16 oktober 1948) at Manne Siegbahnlaboratoriet (Nobelinstitutet för Fysik) in Stockholm, signed by Docent Fritiof S. Sjöstrand, appointed Secretary. The meeting was chaired by Docent K. Siegbahn and was attended by professors, physicists and engineers from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, with the purpose to establish Scandinavian collaboration on electron microscopy. Kai Manne Börje Siegbahn (1918 – 2007) was a Swedish physicist who was awarded the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics, for his contribution to the development of high-resolution electron spectroscopy.

Fritiof Sjöstrand (1912 – 2011), one of the founders of SCANDEM, was a pioneer in developing electron microscopy methods and especially ultrathin sectioning. As Arvid Maunsbach got to know him already during his studies in Stockholm and later at Sjöstrand laboratory in California, he had a unique insight into the history of electron microscopy as well as about SCANDEM. Arvid Maunsbach became involved in the society early during his career, and later served both as President (1977-80) and Treasurer of the society. Many colleagues remember Arvid delivering SCANDEM travel grants in cash(!) at the annual conferences, as well as his friendly way of supporting and encouraging young researchers. In 1996 Arvid Maunsbach wrote, together with Björn Afzelius, the paper entitled 'The Development of Electron Microscopy in Scandinavia' including a brief history of the SCANDEM society (Advances in Imaging and Electron Physics 96, 301-321). Today SCANDEM includes all the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland), but has also members from other countries. The by-line “Scandinavian Society for Electron Microscopy” was in 2002 changed to “Nordic Microscopy Society”.

Kesara Anamthawat-Jónsson, SCANDEM President (2014-2024)

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