In Memoriam Michael Christian ten Noever de Brauw

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Mick ten Noever de Brauw, one of the most well-known Dutch mass spectrometrists and a prominent former chairman of the NVMS. The following in memoriam was kindly provided by a friend of long standing, Jan van der Greef.

A pioneering figure in the Dutch mass spectrometry community and a close personal friend, Michael ten Noever de Brauw, died on August 3, 2021. Mick, also known as Mike, was born in München on November 22, 1935 and after his studies at the TU Delft he joined the “Central Institute for Nutrition and Food Research” of the Netherlands Organization for Applied and Scientific research (TNO) in Zeist.

From the beginning of his career, he was interested in mass spectrometry and his passion was focussed on developing novel mass spectrometry instrumentation and applying these new techniques in daily practice tackling complex problems in food science, environmental sciences and in human and veterinary health. He started to work together with the research and development department of ATLAS MAT in Bremen, today known as Finnigan MAT /Thermo Fisher Scientific. The first mass spectrometer was bought in 1962, an Atlas MAT CH4. In the early days he was already considered as a friend, advisor and customer in Bremen as he wrote in a tribute to Curt Brunnée, a famous director of research at MAT at that time.

I had the privilege of joining Mick’s department in 1980. At that time the TNO group of Mick served as a beta-test site of newly developed instruments of Finnigan MAT. Micks great love for instrumentation was closely linked to high resolution mass spectrometry and particularly coupled to capillary gas chromatography. It was a time when new computer systems were also developed, which created many new options as well as many headaches and nightmares. The mass spectrometry department was equipped with many new instruments and techniques over the years and certainly contributed to the fact that The Netherlands has the highest number of mass spectrometers per square km.

His enthusiasm for mass spectrometry was also reflected in his contribution to the field via the Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group (MSDG) now named the Dutch Society for Mass Spectrometry (NVMS). He was a chairman of the NVMS from 1983 to1997, the longest period of any chairman serving the society up to now. He was famous for making excellent jokes during his presentations without realizing it himself. He gave a nice overview of the early days of mass spectrometry in The Netherlands in his presentation during the gathering celebrating the 35th anniversary of the NVMS in 1999. In this document, you can find a photo of Mick working on the development of laser desorption in the seventies.

Mick adjusting an Atlas MAT SM1 equipped with a Neodymium-Glass pulsed laser (1.06 um wavelength) in the early seventies.

Definitely a highlight for him was participating in the organizing committee of the 12th IMSC in 1991 in Amsterdam, where he could meet all his mass spectrometry friends from all over the world, including many researchers from many different countries that visited his lab or worked there for years. All of them know Mick as a very friendly and amenable person with great hospitality as well as his wife Myrna as many people were invited to their home. Mick was very socially involved and interested. After his retirement he was still often seen in the laboratories.

I will treasure the memories of my friend Mick. His enthusiasm, commitment, interest in and support of others, will be sorely missed by many.

Jan van der Greef