Bruker Honors the Legacy of Dr. Tony W. Keller, a Pioneer in NMR Technology, the former co-CEO of Bruker BioSpin, and a former Director of Bruker Corporation

We are saddened that our former colleague and friend, Dr. h.c. Tony W. Keller, an acclaimed pioneer in the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), has passed away on October 27, 2023, at the age of 86.

Bruker intends to honor the memory of Dr. Keller at our NMR Users Meetings in November, and at several NMR conferences next year. We also envision a future NMR symposium to honor Tony scientifically for his enormous contributions to the field, and as a 'Celebration of the Life of Tony Keller'.  

We recognize Dr. Keller’s enabling innovations in the development of modern NMR technology and spectrometers. All of Tony’s colleagues at Bruker owe him a debt of gratitude for his very significant leadership role in building up Bruker NMR, and developing it over decades into the leading technology innovator and committed market leader.

Frank H. Laukien, PhD, the President & CEO of Bruker Corporation, stated: “The Bruker family and the NMR community are pleased to honor one of our greatest, most energetic leaders, and also a very admirable, dedicated and humble person. Tony was truly a NMR pioneer, a great man, and a dear mentor and friend to me and many others. We will fondly remember Tony for his numerous enabling contributions to NMR technology, his unwavering commitment to innovation, as well as his focus on our key collaborators and good customers. Dr. Tony Keller was a brilliant NMR engineer and scientist, as well as an energetic and visionary entrepreneur, highly respected team leader and an inspiring, very successful senior business executive with highest integrity.”

Dr. Keller early on in his career recognized the enormous potential of NMR to elucidate 3D molecular structures. His initial rf engineering work with early NMR scientists at ETH Zuerich fueled his passion for the magnetic resonance field. Throughout several decades, Dr. Keller was instrumental in establishing Bruker as the leading technological innovator in the NMR field. Tony held key leadership positions in Bruker for more than 50 years before retiring in 2010. He continued as an experienced, motivating Senior Advisor to Bruker until recently.

Dr. Keller is credited with the pivotal development of the world’s first multinuclear Fourier-transform NMR spectrometer, and he personally was first to record 13C-observe 1H-broadband decoupled spectra in Fourier-transform mode, a breakthrough that enabled modern NMR applications in chemistry. His collaborative and innovation-driven approach contributed to the development of other groundbreaking and enabling NMR technologies, such as superconducting NMR magnets, digital spectrometers, cryogenically cooled probes, and ultimately even 1.2 GHz ultra-high field NMR systems.

These key innovations today are foundational for NMR structural biology research, NMR metabolomics and applied markets, NMR pharmaceutical research, as well as advanced materials and renewable energy research.

Not only was Tony an innovator in enabling technologies for the NMR community, but he was also deeply connected to the NMR scientific community worldwide, who had a trusted partner in Tony to integrate their scientific ideas into the Bruker technology developments and its next generation of innovative products.

Remarkably, for his enabling contributions to NMR, Dr. Keller received multiple honorary doctoral degrees, from the University of Florence, the Technical University of Berlin, and the University of Queensland. Tony also was appointed an honorary professor at the East China Normal University in Shanghai. Moreover, Dr. Keller was awarded the Otto Stern Prize by the GDCh, and he was an honorary member of the GDCh Division of Magnetic Resonance, and a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR). His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers in the field of NMR technology and applications.


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Markus Ziegler
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Bruker BioSpin
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