Obituary for Prof. Janos Urai

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) mourns the sudden death of its Founding Dean for the Faculty of Sciences and adjunct professor Prof. Dr. Janos Lajos Urai.


With great sadness we mourn the passing of our colleague and friend Professor Janos Urai, who died in a fatal accident while mountain climbing on May 28th, 2023.

He was born on October 16th, 1953, in Budapest, Hungary.


Being a professor at the Geoscience Department of RWTH Aachen University since 1996, Janos Urai has been involved in the establishment of the German University of Technology GUtech in Muscat, Oman since 2004. He developed the Applied Geosciences program at GUtech as Inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Science of GUtech (2006-2012) and as Head of Department of Applied Geosciences and continued to be associated with GUtech as Adjunct Professor since 2013.
“Prof. Dr. Janos Lajos Urai was a world-renowned scientist who advanced structural geology with his pioneering, fundamental and applied research. He combined field work with quantitative experimental and numerical approaches. His topics were cross-scale and ranged from the nano porosity of cap rocks, recrystallization processes, the rheology of salt rocks, the evolution of microstructures in veins, to the large-scale evolution of tectonic faults. His h-index of 64 reflects his strong publication record. Janos’ excellent academic achievements were recognized by the German Geological Society – Geological Association 2022 with the Steinmann Medal. With his death, the geoscientific community and especially structural geology loses a great scientist,” says Prof. Dr. Peter Kukla, Head of the Department of Geo-Resources and Materials Engineering at RWTH Aachen and his colleague since their early years at Shell.


With his death, we lose a truly gifted and popular colleague, a dedicated scientist and teacher, and an always challenging, life-affirming and creative person. His field trips and mapping courses, where he opened up the beauty of geology and the deformation of rocks have shaped many students at GUtech and will remain unforgotten. Prof. Peter Kukla, who himself came to GUtech together with Janos Urai many times, remembers that already in his student days, Janos Urai followed his passion for mountaineering, which lasted until the end. Whether El Capitan in Yosemite Nature Park in California in the 1980s, numerous peaks in the Alps, for example, Dent Blanche in Switzerland or vertical walls on Jebel Misht in Oman in recent years, nothing seemed impossible until the Sunday of Pentecost 2023, when he fell to his premature death near Namur in Belgium.


The German University of Technology in Oman will always cherish the memory of Janos Urai and his love for Oman and will remember his enthusiasm and engagement for GUtech with deep gratitude. Our heartfelt condolences go to his family.

© GUtech, Muscat, Oman 2023

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