The Doyenne of Plant Tissue Culture in Austria celebrated her 97th birthday on March 2nd. 2020, as Prof. Otto Härtel, the successor to Gottlieb Haberlandt in Graz, entitled Univ. Lecturer Dr. Waltraud Rücker on the occasion of a ceremony in the Josephinum, Vienna.
Insiders already know that this is the highest recognition that a scientist could wish for, namely to be recognized as the founder of a field in his country. For the non-scientists among you, the following brief explanations should explain, what this means.

Gottlieb Haberlandt's pioneering publication “Cultivation Experiments with Isolated Plant Cells” in 1902 contained his vision of the totipotency of the plant cell, although it was not realized until 1939 in Roger Gautheret's laboratory in Paris. Dr. Waltraud Rücker brought from Gautheret's laboratory this knowledge back to Austria and built up a completely new field of expertise here.

In the 50s, at the Institute for chemistry of Prof. Broda, Dr Waltraud Rücker was introduced to plant tissue culture through Prof. Melchers, and founded the plant GK in Austria at that time.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Waltraud Rücker was entrusted with the task of setting up a laboratory for plant cell and tissue culture at the Seibersdorf research center. She earned the experience from the Laboratoire de Biologie Végétale at the Sorbonne with Prof. Roger Gautheret, at that time the first instance in the field.
In the Seibersdorf laboratory, a wide range of basic plant physiological and applied questions were dealt with.

In the 1970s, Dr. Waltraud Rücker returned to the University of Vienna, formally to the Institute of Plant Physiology, in fact to the Institute for Pharmacognosy, where a small, fully functional laboratory for plant tissue culture was set up in the basement of the university dental clinic using project funds. There I experienced her as a doctor's mother for 5 years, and learned a lot. Above all, I learned the absolutely critical and exact access to designing experiments, evaluating scientific data, but also appreciating the sense of linguistic precision and a subtle sense of humor.

At the Institute of Plant Physiology, Dr. Waltraud Rücker in 1984 earned her habilitation as Univ. Lecturer for "Plant Physiology with Special Consideration of Plant Tissue Culture".

After 1989, Univ.Doz. Dr. Waltraud Rücker continued her activities in the newly founded in vitro laboratory of the Schönbrunn Horticultural School.
Dr. Waltraud Rücker also continued to work with us in the Plant Biotechnology Unit at BOKU. So, in 1998 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Haberlandt idea with a symposium, because after all Haberlandt must have had the idea before and started work when he could publish it in the reports of the Imperial and Royal Academy of Sciences in 1902!  In 2003 we jointly published the commemorative volume “Plant Tissue Culture: 100 Years since Gottieb Haberlandt” with Springer Verlag.

Dr. Waltraud Rücker has served as the IAPTC's National Correspondent for over 30 years since it was founded in 1971, and in this role has organized the German Botanical Congress in 1984 and the 17th Intl. Botanical Congress 2005 in Vienna. I have taken on this function from her since then.

For her lifelong dedication to Plant Tissue Culture, Dr. Waltraud Rücker in 2004 was awarded the Gottlieb Haberlandt Prize.