Georges Van der Perre was born in Ninove, Belgium, on January 10, 1942. He obtained an engineering degree at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with specialization metallurgy in 1967. For four years he was a research assistant at the Department of Metallurgy (KU Leuven) and then moved to the steel wire company Bekaert in Zwevegem (Belgium) where he was a research engineer. Over these years he worked on a PhD thesis in the field of metallurgy and obtained his PhD degree in 1975 at KU Leuven.
In 1976 he was called back to the university to teach analytical mechanics in the bachelor program of the Faculty of Engineering Science. With some colleagues at KU Leuven he started a collaboration with the department of orthopaedic surgery at the university hospitals and this was the start of biomechanics research at KU Leuven. He developed this research line further with emphasis on vibration analysis to monitor bone fracture healing and on orthopaedic implant design and fixation. He co-founded the research division Biomechanics and Engineering Design in 1988 which became embedded in the department of mechanical engineering. He led the division from 1988 until 2006. The division grew from approximately 10 members in 1988 to over 50 members now. He authored or co-authored over 300 publications in the area of biomechanics and biomaterials. He was elected “Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering” in 1996. In the European Society of Biomechanics, he served as a president from 1998 to 2002. He is an honorary member of the ESB since 2002.
Besides of his teaching tasks in basic engineering mechanics and in biomechanics, and his engagement towards the ESB, he was chairing the educational boards of the bachelor program in engineering science in KU Leuven for many years. Another area of interest of Georges Van der Perre was the introduction of novel technologies in education. His engagement in this field was demonstrated by his presidency of SEFI (Société Européenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs) in 1986-1987. He was also the chairman of EuroPACE (European Program for Advanced Continuing Education) from 1994 onwards.
Georges Van der Perre was an honorary member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium.
After becoming ill early 2017, Georges Van der Perre deceased in Leuven on September 14, 2017. He will be remembered by many for his contributions to orthopaedic biomechanics, for his contributions to the European Society of Biomechanics, and for his gentle way of interacting with his colleagues and students. He inspired thousands of engineering students with his courses on basic engineering mechanics. Because of his early involvement in biomechanics and because of his service to the European Society of Biomechanics, he was a source of inspiration for many.
Jos Vander Sloten
Leuven, October 2017