A Life for community
On August 20th 2008 our beloved friend, coworker and colleague Thorsten Hampel unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 37 years. He was “Juniorprofessor” of Digital Media at the University of Paderborn and visiting Professor of Cooperative Media at the University of Vienna. Cooperation determined his life in many ways. Already as a student assistant of the laboratory of technical mechanics LTM of the University of Paderborn he built bridges between the different disciplines. His diploma thesis and later research work did not only help in designing and building furniture for computer supported Teaching and Learning environments, but above all software based infrastructures for research and teaching. As a coworker in the research group Computers and Society of the Heinz Nixdorf Institute he advanced the development of a universal cooperation platform and coined its name “sTeam”. It means “structuring information in teams” and points out his penchant for the high art of engineers to transform energy into motion. Not only did he and his father build historic steam engines in their cellar, but Thorsten also adopted the knowledge of how to set others in motion and guide them. Developments had to progress and thus he organized the participation in trade shows and exhibitions where sTeam was presented to both trade visitors and the general public.
He gathered highest praise and commendations for his scientific successes, as well as his personal demeanor. As both teacher and colleague he asserted respect and was friend and mentor at the same time. For Thorsten performance and merit formed an equal unit as heart and mind or hand and head. “With this unparalleled bond of versatility and holism he has a permanent place in our hearts as well as in the history of science.” said Professor Dr. Reinhard Keil, head of the research group Computers and Society, who accompanied Thorsten from his diploma over the doctoral dissertation to the post doctoral lecture qualification (habilitation). The “koaLA” system, which the University of Paderborn uses in teaching, is built on sTeam. Even in far China sTeam is employed at the University of Qingdao. Thus Thorsten’s ideas not only live on in scientific publications, but also the everyday day life of universities all over the world.
Friends, Colleagues, Coworkers and students can barely manage to understand that his life ended so unexpectedly. Thorsten Hampel was not only a scientist, he was a man of culture, evident through the ties he established between the past, as a collector of historic calculation machines, and the future, which he enriched with his innovative ideas. With his talent and willingness for cooperation he has broken down disciplinary borders in science and developed systems that enrich humans in their cooperation with others, instead of making them dispensable or replaceable.
Losing such a special person is a terrible tragedy. All the more our compassion is directed at his wife Hilde and their two little daughters, the second of which was born only a day after his death, his sister Astrid, and parents Annemarie and Reinhard. They always gave him their everything so that Thorsten could develop his inspiring personality.Losing such a special person is a terrible tragedy. All the more our compassion is directed at his wife Hilde and their two little daughters, the second of which was born only a day after his death, his sister Astrid, and parents Annemarie and Reinhard. They always gave him their everything so that Thorsten could develop his inspiring personality.