Obituary for Engelbert Dockner

(G. Feichtinger)

In April 2017, one of the most renowned economists and Operations Researchers of Austria, Engelbert Dockner, passed away after a long heavy ( gutes englisch?) sickness.  Engelbert spoke – as always – openly about his malsdy and was quite optimistic. This was his nature and helped him to cope with the difficulties the fate bestowed him.

One early cornerstone of Engelbert´s scientific career was his Ph. D. thesis in which he provided an elegant stability analysis for the stationary states  of two-state optimal control models. Generations of economists and Operations Researchers have used ‘Dockner´s formula’ to get valuable insights into the qualitative structure of the solution of intertemporal optimization models of various kinds. Later Engelbert applied his formula successfully to our research on habit formation and addiction.

It is not the place here to review his scientific successes. But this obituary would be not complete if the `blue bible´ of Cambridge University Press on `Differential Games in Economics and Management Science´ is not  mentioned. Together with his co-authors he wrote the best book that ever existed on dynamic games in economics and Operations Research.

Engelbert was not only an outstanding scientist, but also an excellent teacher. The students were enthusiastic about his teaching qualities. His lectures at conferences were notoriously brilliant.    Several young colleagues were motivated by him to start a successful scientific career.

Engelbert´s mind was full of sparkling ideas, and his capabilities for networking made him to a favourite co-author.  Beside of his deep and broad research interests resulting from his curiosity in scientific problems, his trademark was his modest and well-balanced personality. He accepted his fate with equanimity.


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