It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death this past September of our colleague, Prof. Dr José Abecassis Empis.
For many years José Empis contributed to the Working Party on Food Chemistry (later Food Chemistry Division). He actively helped create a European community in Food Chemistry, which led to an increased collaboration between scientists in different countries. In addition, he worked to create a more visible platform for food chemistry by creating journals and organizing conferences that brought together groups from different universities, faculties, and countries. He was also active on the Editorial Board of “European Food Research and Technology” and the “Czech Journal of Food Science”. His scientific contributions to food chemistry covered a wide range of fields – from preservation technology and minimal processing to the study of natural pigments.
From 2002 to 2006 José served as a delegate to the 6th and 7th Framework Program and was a member of the Board of FCES during its transition to the EUCheMS with new objectives and responsibilities. During the transitional period between 2006-2010, he was the first treasurer of the EUCheMS and successfully took on the difficult task of reorganizing and establishing the body as the legal entity AISBL = Association International Sans But Lucratif. A close friend suggested changing the name to the AILSB (Ass. Intl. Lucratif Sans But). José’s engagement was anything but “lucrative”. He invested countless hours and days in this endeavour – attending meetings in Brussels with other board members and our secretary Evelyn McEwan, as well as with functionaries from the bank. José navigated this demanding challenge with elegance, humour, and optimism.
In 2011 in appreciation for his hard work and dedication to the field, he was awarded the “Honorary Medal for Outstanding Services to the Federation and for Furthering International Cooperation in the Field of Chemistry”.
We will remember him as a cheerful colleague during evenings at the Heurigen; as a vital part of the Food Chemistry’s Division meetings in Vienna; and as generous host to committees and commissions in Portugal, where he introduced us to Fado, Portuguese wine and Grilled Sardines à la Portugaise – unforgettably and uniquely “José”!
(This obituary, written by Reto Battaglia, is also available at the EuCheMS Division of Food Chemistry section).