He was a Berliner who reached for the stars. As well as Dieter B. Herrmann, only a few could explain what is happening in the vast expanses of space. As the former head of the Archenhold observatory in Treptow and as the founding director of the Zeiss large planetarium in Prenzlauer Berg, he always had the starry sky in view.
The Planetarium Berlin Foundation announced on Thursday that Dieter B. Herrmann had died. His wife Sabine Heinz posted on Facebook: “This morning my beloved husband died after a serious illness.” Herrmann was 82 years old.
Dieter B. Herrmann was a well-known voice in science and science communication in the entire German-speaking area, explains Tim Florian Horn, director of the Planetarium Berlin Foundation, established in 2016. “He was able to convey his wide-ranging knowledge – also beyond astronomy – in a fascinating way and thus inspire generations of interested people. We will miss him.”
Hermann almost became a stage star
The man who explored the stars, he became a star himself. Dieter B. Herrmann knew every child in the east of Berlin who was in charge of the observatory in Treptower Park from 1976 to 2004 and who also took over the management of the Zeiss large planetarium as founding director in 1987. He gained his popularity through his numerous lectures and scientific broadcasts on GDR television. For 14 years he presented the popular science program “Aha”. For this he was awarded several times as the GDR television audience favorite.
The head of the observatory almost became a star on the stage. In addition to studying physics at Humboldt University (1957–1963), Dieter B. Herrmann devoted himself intensively to the art of acting and almost became a member of the Berliner Ensemble.
The distance from space, the shine of the starry world: Herrmann described it passionately in books. In the end there were 46 volumes, 150 scientific and around 2000 popular scientific publications. Many became bestsellers.
Explaining complicated events simply: Herrmann could do that. And he turned the cosmic world into a show: the large planetarium became a star theater in which laser technology programs such as “Fantastic Universe”, “Stars, Nebula, Fire Wheels”, “When the Moon came to the Tailor” or “The Great Tour” through the world of planets ”. With the further development of the Zeiss large planetarium into a science theater, Herrmann’s legacy will continue to have an effect well after his death, the Planetarium Berlin Foundation pays tribute to him.