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dr fTHY

It is with great sadness and sorrow that the Soil and Water Sciences Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Egypt has lost one of its founders and one of the most respected and beloved members of its family. Sadly, Professor Dr Fathi Amer passed away on November 17 while in Kuwait. Professor Fathi Amer was a distinguished professor of Soil Chemistry, a very dedicated scientist, and was one of the pillars of the Faculty of Agriculture for decades. His personal and human touch, his kind likeable personality, and his willingness to always help and share his valued knowledge with his colleagues and students will greatly be missed.

Professor Fathi Amer’s professional life and career have been extremely rich and full of accomplishments. Immediately after his graduation from Cairo University in 1944, Professor Fathi Amer travelled to the USA to continue his graduate studies where he obtained his MSc. In 1949 and then his PhD in 1953 from Iowa State University majoring in Soil Fertility. Since his return to Egypt in 1953, Professor Fathi Amer joined the Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University as Assistant Professor in the Soil and Water Sciences Department. In 1969 Professor Fathi Amer became a full professor and he was appointed the Head of the Soil and Water Sciences Department between 1980 and 1983.

Internationally, Professor Fathi Amer’s knowledge and expertise was sought after and he contributed a great deal to the state of knowledge and our understanding of soil chemistry and fertility. Being recognized at the early stage of his carrier as expert in phosphorus chemistry and behavior in soil environments and plant systems, he was granted the USDA – International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA fellowship in 1960—1961 to work in Colorado State. His success and accomplishment during this mission in the USA led IAEA to count on him to establish the isotopes application laboratories for the Atomic Agency of Iraq in 1964-1965. His achievement in Iraq was recognized by FAO who signed him up to establish the isotopes laboratories for Bulgaria in 1972-1973. These successful missions were followed by expert consultancies as International adviser to Iraq in 1973, Sudan in 1975, Bulgaria in 1976, and Syria in 1979.

During his carrier, Professor Fathi Amer, served as an active member of the Egyptian National Committee of Soil Resources and the Egyptian National Committee of Water Resources. Professor Fathi Amer was an active member of the American Society of Soil Science, American Society of Agronomy, International Society of Soil Science, and the Egyptian Soil Science Society. In addition he was a reviewer and research proposal evaluator for several international and national Journals and funding organizations.

Professor Fathi Amer has been known as a perfectionist, who would go the extra mile seeking the best. He enriched our knowledge with over 60 excellent scientific publications in worldwide renowned Journals. His dedication to science earned him the respect, admiration, and trust of the funding organizations. From the very early start of his carrier, Professor Fathi Amer without a shadow of a doubt had the best soil chemistry laboratories in Egypt, thanks to his endless efforts and his ability to attract funds. Those laboratories produced first class research manuscripts, MSc’s and PhD’s and many of his graduates are now highly respected faculty members and researchers around the Egyptian Universities and Research Centers.

Professor Fathi Amer was ahead of his time in thinking and acting. Although he started as a soil chemist, he employed his knowledge in practice and for solving daily life problems. He became interested in optimizing the fertilizer applications to minimize cost and environmental pollution stress, salinity control and its relation with fertilization, soil degradation prevention and water conservation. In the latter, most recently, he was able to use saline water to produce wheat at El-Hammam University Farm at low cost with a profit donated to the faculty. Ahead of his time and being aware of the impact of climate change and population growth on water as a scarce resource, Professor Fathi Amer, focused his latest efforts on using wastewater employing low cost innovative techniques for irrigation and food production. Moving with time and ahead of time has always been Professor Fahi Amer’s approach to scientific work. Leading by example, he was an extremely hard example to follow. He was very unique human being; one in millions.

The Egyptian scientific community, and the world at large, sadly lost one of the finest scientists Egypt ever produced. He will always be remembered for his first class science, his integrity and dignity as a college professor, his sense of humor, his caring and sharing, his willingness to help and educate, his eagerness to learn and listen to others and debate opposite views for the benefit of science and humanity.

Professor Fathi Amer is survived by his caring and loving family; his wife, two daughters, his brother Prof. Dr. Abdel Wahab Amer and four wonderful grandchildren. We are all fortunate and extremely proud to be friends, and students of this great scientist.

May ALLAH bless his soul and let him rest in peace in heaven.

The family of the Soil and Water Sciences Department,
Faculty of Agriculture,
Alexandria University
El chatby, Alexandria