No Frame


"Iron, Steel and Swords"

© H. Föll



How to use this Hyperscript
Wer's kann, soll's tun,
wer's nicht kann, soll's lehren.
Academic words of wisdom
So you're the one who reads prefaces? Thank you - but why are you doing this? They are usually quite boring.
I'll take it that you are interested in one or both of the two major topics typically dealt with in prefaces:
  1. Why did the author spend his time and mostly somebody other's money on writing whatever he (or she, of course) wrote? Here is the "why question" once more.
  2. Who really did the work (besides grad students). That's what induces some otherwise rather normal people to read prefaces: they expect to be mentioned there.
So why did I do this? Why do professors generally write a lot? More or less in order to to keep their job or to get a better one at more upbeat university. Scientific books or publications increase one's ranking (as expressed, for example, in the "Hirsch factor"), and that translates sooner or later into money. It goes without saying that we also want to know how the universe ticks (or the world, silicon crystals, woman,... ) and that our lot also wants to further human knowledge or world peace; sometimes both. You even might impress your young kids (but not your wife or your teenagers) by your written output.
Good reasons - but not really why I wrote this hyperscript. I started work on iron and steel because I simply wanted to understand the stuff I taught in undergraduate classes. The Materials Science and Engineering study course I introduced 1993 in Kiel focussed on "functional materials" like semiconductors, ion conductors or metal- polymer composites. But we just could not ignore metals in general and iron and steel in particular in these basic undergraduate courses. Of course, all materials science and engineering professors know the basics of metal science and can teach that cold or while under the influence of beer. They can even teach specifics that they do not really understand as long as they are a few pages ahead of the students in some suitable text book. I was doing that to some extent but felt increasingly uncomfortable with that time-honored approach.
The turning point for me came in the year 2000. While participating in a conference in Madrid that dealt (in depth!) with porous semiconductors, I bought a sword during an outing to Toledo. I needed one since I always used Siegfried's sword as a paradigm of structural materials in my classes. Why, I asked my students, was it much harder after forging and quenching, considering that the chemical composition has not changed? When in Toledo I accidentially run across a smithy containing a smith forging a sword, I vaguely recalled that Toledo was somehow famous for sword making and bought a big sword on impulse. I felt that it could help me in the class room to get the point across. That was indeed the case. If my students remember one thing about my undergraduate lectures, it was the ritual beheading of Kent and Barbie with a real big crusader-type sword. (I've reared two daughters around then. Beheading their Barbie dolls every once in a while helps to stay sane. Try it!).
It is worthwhile to mention how I got that (large) sword back to Germany. The smith wrapped in into old newspaper and wound some string around it. Then I took the package into the airplane as hand-luggage. Nobody thought anything about that. Those were the good old pre 9/11 times.
Watching the smith in Toledo doing his thing, I seemed to remember that Toledo was somehow tied to damascene technique so I asked the smith if he was forging a damascene sword? He only snorted in disgust, telling me that he and his ancestors, all of them smiths down to Roman times, didn't need to go for this inferior outlandish stuff since they could do much better.
This puzzled me to to some extent and back in Kiel I looked up "damascene technique" and so on. What I found out was that I didn't know a thing about the topic, just like almost everybody else, and that there was a lot of fascinating stuff hiding in the background. I then proceeded to educate myself a bit (in particular with Manfred Sachse's book) and wrote two "on-the-side" modules for my regular lecture hyperscripts:
  • Damascene Technique in Metal Working. This was (and is) is an advanced module in the "Defects in Crystals" hyperscript intended for graduate classes.
  • A Brief History of Steel. This was originally a (German) module in a hyperscipt for undergraduate classes but became finalized in the "Defects" Hyperscript.
These two modules (out of 228 in the "defect" hyperscript) had a totally unforeseen and unplanned effect: they came up for many years as No 1 in search engines whenever you typed in a key word related to the topic. As far as the Internet was concerned, I was now the expert on iron, steel and sword things!
That was most gratifying but put me back on square one. I was now on top of my stundents when it came to simple iron and steel science but I most certainly was not the authority on sword forging throughout the millennia.
Or maybe I was?
While some scientists certainly knew far more about the subject than I, they had typically not communicated that to the general public and whatever they did write was certainly not available in the Internet. Some had written books upon the subject - just look a the list here. But no book covered everything, many were outdated, and you could not find these books in the Net. For you young guys out there: The Net wasn't always around, surprisingly enough! Before about 1995 you can just forget about it. There weren't even flat panel displays! People had to read books.
Being outdated was almost unavoidable for books written before 1980 -1990, say. There are several reasons for that, none within the author's responsibilty:
  • The basic scientific understanding of what, exactly, is going on inside a crystal when somebody hits it with a hammer had developed after 1960, and in 1980 it was still rather restricted knowledge. One simply could not expect that scientists outside the small circle of insiders should have known much about dislocation theory and so on. Only when (more or less retired) insiders like Rolf Hummel and Stever Sass wrote their books, a general public could for the first time learn something about the science behind plastic deformation.
  • Metallurgical investigations into old iron / steel were rare. The analytical methods available then were tedious and rather destructive and archaeologist were reluctant to part with specimen. Archaeologists also were typically humanists, fluent in many dead languages but not in metallurgy. Their interest in dark spots in the ground (former smelters), slag heaps and pieces of heavily corroded somethings was rather limited.
  • Archaeometallurgy and working with smiths, for example, was almost unnown. In 1980 there were hardly any smiths around anyway, so debates about pattern welding techniques or how to make a wootz sword were academic at best.
So in 2000 I was not the the scientific authority on sword forging throughout the millennia. Maybe Radomir Pleiner was. Or whoever. But these guys still did not address a rapidly growing number of interested people without a science background and not given to reading expensive science books. I did, and in updating my pages I learned more and more about the subject. I also came up with more and more questions for which I couldn't find answers.
I didn't worry too much about that. I needed all my worrying potential for keeping up in my own field, getting money for research and keeping my grad students happy; not to mention seeing my kids through high school and university.
Then out of the blue, Hermann Hampe approached me, asking if I would write a bit about the making of swords for a new book that he and his buddy Vic Diehl planned to publish. I agreed, got to work, and came up with some text. Delving into the topic I learned a lot but also run across new questions. Some questions did not find good answers but I wrote about these topics anyway. My text in the book actually does contain a few blunders, see if you can find them (you need to buy the book first!).
The book came out in 2012 and around this time I decided to produce a Hyperscript based on the text in the book. A hyperscript can have all these modules "on the side" where I could elucidate some details that could just not be part of a regular text in a regular book.
However! One detail lead to another one, and eventually the old text had to be augmented. New chapters and sub chapters became necessary because I wanted to include everything important (like phase diagrams). Looking for one thing in the Internet often lead to discoveries in other fields that needed to be included somewhere. Visiting museums provided for great pictures and questionable explanations that needed to be addressed, necessitating yet more modules. The whole thing got out of hand.
At some point I decided: Be cool! Why don't I include just about everything somehow connected to iron steel and swords? Or possibly not even connected but fun to do?
Now you know:

I did this because it was (and is)
great fun!

That's all. I like to learn and find out things and I like to write it up for myself. I don't mind sharing it with you and that's why I put it in the Net. If you like it I'm pleased. If you don't I'm not pleased but don't care all that much. I have not written this hyperscript for you (or for making money) so take it or leave it.
Time for acknowledgements. I readily acknowlegde that in my 350 or so research papers lots of others did a lot or most of the work. This Hyperscript, however, is almost exclusively mine. Pretty much every drawing has been done by me (that explains the poor quality) and the text has been written by me and only by me.
Nevertheless I want to mention a few people that were of help. Foremost my co-worker and asssistent Jürgen Carstensen who worked with me for more than 20 years. In contrast to me he not only knows his math (he was born a theoretical physicist) but can program any computer to do amazing things. When I started around 1995 to assemble the first "multimedia" modules, as we called it then, he came up with the structural concept for this plus the "check" program that automatically produces all these lists and catches the errors in the file tree. That platform was absolutely perfect and I still use it.
I have extensively used the work of others, of course. I have tried to give precise references in all cases and sincerely hope that I did not make too many mistakes. I did ask permission to use many pictures but quite often I got no answer. In many case, however, I got not only permission but some help. I like to mention a few people in this context:
  • Ingo Petri,a budding archaeologist and almost a PhD student of mine, who supplied we with much material, knowledge and good advice, together with Jan-Hendrik Morjan, a grad student of mine who, by definition, did (some of) the work.
  • Bruno Overlaet frOm the Brussels museum of art and hIstory who is "the " Luristan experet and who helped me along on that the highly interesting Luristan iron mask sword topic.
  • Andreas Hauptmann and Ünsal Yalçýn from Bochum, Germany, who not only let me have material but whose work I found particularly enlightening.
  • Other scientists like Isabelle Caneva, Peter Crew, Ann Feuerbach, Alfred Geibig, Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani, Dierk Raabe and Stefan Maeder, whose work and on occasion direct input was instrumental for the Hyperscript.
  • Manfred Sachse needs to be mentioned. His book not only was instrumental on starting me on this business but still supplies valuable infomation. He is one the "hands-on" guys without whom we scientists could not possibly find out how "it" was really done. I also owe quite a bit to many ohers doing smithing and smelting and want to mention Patrick Bárta, Ric Furrer, Jeff Pringle, Lee Sauder and Claes Vahlberg here.

Thank you all - your work was important to me!


Something about Me

Title: Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Just so you know.
Present Position: Retired
Former Chairholder "Materials Science" in the Materials Science group of the Faculty of Engineering; Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel (CAU), Germany
What I did
in Kiel
Retirement is a good point in time to take stock. The "Hochschulgesetz" of Schleswig-Holstein, if memory serves, requests a professor to be active in the following areas: Research, Teaching, Production of young academics, adequate Participation within the autonomous administration, and Technology transfer.
It does not request reproduction; I did that on the side.
So here goes:
About 350 publications (including about 70 from before the CAU time). Almost all in refereed journals and books, leading to a "Hirsch factor" of 36.
One of the two initiators and speaker of the "DFG - Schwerpunkt: Photonische Kristalle". Successful proposals for about 5.4 Mio € third-party funds, enabling, among many other things, the building of the "Kieler Nanolab".
Key role in the introduction of the study courses "Dipl.-Ing. Materialwissenschaft" in 1992 and "Master of Materials Science and Engineering" in 1999. 11 new lecture courses were conceived from scratch and taught most of the time. All lecture courses are augmented by "hyperscipts", freely accessible in the Net, that enjoy considerable international appreciation. (2014: 18 Mio requests from 1.5 Mio users; 7 TB downloads).
Teaching award of the state of Schleswig-Holstein in 2001; special prize from Siemens AG for excellence in teaching Engineers in 2001.
    Production of young academics
Acted for 25 Ph.D's as first advisor and for a comparable number as second adviser. Several post-docs acquired special knowledge; at least 5 are now professors or pursuing an academic career.
    Participation within the autonomous CAU / Science administration
Founding dean and twice elected dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 1991 - 2000. Vice dean until 2002.
Many innovations I introduced at the start of the School of Engineering are still in place (e.g. internal financing with a global budget).
Member of the CAU senate and various boards, Chairman of the Materials Science examination board, executive director of the Institute for Materials Science and so on for far more years than I care to remember. Member or chairman of boards of many science organizations (Technologiestiftung S.-H., ISIT Itzehoe, GKSS Geesthacht, MPI Halle, Forschungszentrum Jülich, …). Chairman of more than 15 "Berufungskommissionen" and many "Promotionsausschüsse". DFG "Vertrauensdozent for 12 years. Founder of the "Förderverein der Technischen Fakultät", plus considerable fund raising activities for this entity; e.g. about 15 stipends for foreign master students over a period of several years.

Curriculum Vitae

2/55 - 5/67 Born in Backnang; Baden-Württemberg
  Yes! - I am a Suebian.
2/55 - 5/67 Elementary and High-School; in Geisingen (now Freiberg/N) and Ludwigsburg; Baden-Württemberg
6/67 - 12/73 Student of Physics; University of Stuttgart
12/73 - 5/76 Thesis work at the Max-Planck-Institut for Metal Physics in Stuttgart and the University of Stuttgart (Advisor: Prof. Seeger/Prof. Wilkens)
  Mostly radiation induced defects in Si and "swirl defects" in Si; partially in cooperation with Siemens, Munic
1/77 - 12/79 Post-doc; Cornell University; Mat. Science Dept.
  Grain boundaries in Si, defects in solar Si (remember the oil crisis?)
  Most important achievement: Met future wife!
1/79 - 6/80 Visiting Scientist at the IBM T. J. Watson Res. Lab. in Yorktown Heights
Mostly Silicides; some defects in Si; Started with electrochemistry of Si
11/80 - 9/91 Various Positions with Siemens in Munich
  Some solar Silicon; mostly microelectronics; plenty of organization and management jobs
  Electrochemistry of Si on the side
  Last position: Project leader of Siemens 16Mbit DRAM Project
  Most important achievement: Married Sara; reproduced 3 times (You learn from making DRAMs that redundancy is important).
10/91 - 07/94 Professor (Chair for Material Science)
  And - more important - first (appointed) Dean of the new Faculty of Engineering of the University of Kiel (with exactly 2 faculty staff members to manage)
  Being the dean also means lots of side jobs, not all of which were always fun. Some lasted 8 years.
  • Vorsitzender wiss. Beirat der Technologiestiftung Schleswig-Holstein und Vorsitzender /Mitglied div. Unterausschüsse.
  • Mitglied wiss. Beirat der GKSS Geesthacht
  • Miglied wiss. Beirat Festkörperphysik; Großforschungszentrum Jülich
  • Mitglied Kuratorium ISiT
  • Mitglied Kuratorium MPI Mikrostrukturphysik Halle
  • Mitglied Arbeitsgruppe "RISI"
  • Gründungsmitglied und Vorstandsmitglied Förderverein der TF
  • Als Dekan Mitglied im Senat und Konsistorium der CAU Kiel
  • Mitglied/Vertreter der TF in sämtlichen Ausschüssen der CAU (Haushalt, Studien, Forschungs und Wissenstransfertransfer,...)
  • Vorsitzender des Fakultätskonvents
  • Prüfungsausschußvorsitzender Materialwissenschaft
  • Vorsitzender in > 15 Berufungsverfahren
7/94 - 7/96 Elected Dean (now with about 200 faculty staff members to manage; not to mention students)
  Still plenty of "honor" jobs and memberships of various boards.
7/96 - 7/98 Encore! Once more elected Dean
7/98 - 7/00 Free at last!
  But new things come up: Speaker of the "DFG - Schwerpunkt Photonische Kristalle"; still member of various boards and, not to forget, the vice president of the "Förderverein" of the Techische Fakultät (the one who does the work).
7/00 - 10/14 Getting there! No longer Vice Dean! Just a Professor.
12/01 "Teaching Award" of the State of Schleswig Holstein (DM 20.000.-)
  And a special price of Siemens for excellence in teaching engineers (3 Fujitsu-Siemens "Lifebooks").
In both cases mostly for "pioneering work" in providing Net-based teaching material (Check with the link "Hyperscripts of AMAT" above).
1/04 Initiated "ET&TE GmbH" together with coworkers from the Chair.
6/06 Visions occurred and started something big: The "Kiel Nanolab". Neatly funneled off 1.9 Mio from the "Kultusministerium" that almost would have been used for something else.
1/07 Caught Again!
  • "Executive Director" of the Institute of Materials Science. (Geschäftsführender Direktor).
  • "Vertrauensdozent" of the DFG at the CAU (since Oct. 2003).
  • And still vice president of the "Förderverein" of the Technische Fakultät.
11/09 Getting ready. No longer "Head of Examination Board" of Materials Science. (Prüfungsausschussvorsitzender).
10/14 Done! Finally I was allowed to retire, 9 months after my 65th birthday.
But still "Vertrauensdozent" of the DFG at the CAU (since Oct. 2003).
"Goldene Ehrennadel" (Badge of honor?) of the CAU for having been a good guy
  Dimitris Cantomir medal from the Academy of Science, Moldova, for "promoting long-standing excellent cooperations" with Moldova.
If you don't know who Dimitro Cantomir was, you will find his bust in a park in Istanbul, next to that of Willi Brand:
Dimitri Cantomir (and fan) in a park in Istanbul
4/15 Well Done!
Prof Kienle now is "Vertrauensdozent" of the DFG at the CAU. No more jobs with the University
4/15 - now Cheers!