Ariel Bergmann obituary

Published on 28 May 2020

We are sad to share the news about the death of Ariel Bergmann.

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Peter Cameron, Director of the Centre has written this tribute.

Ariel Bergmann joined CEPMLP in 2009 to boost our energy economics group. His specialism was in the lower carbon forms of energy, which we wanted to learn more about at that time, and so we relied on Ariel to help us enrich our MSc programmes with new thinking. He joined Xiaoyi Mu and, once Rafael ‘Manny’ Macatangay arrived, we had an entirely new energy economics team.

Ariel came to us with a background in small to medium size business, and this experience of practice formed a reference point for Ariel on many occasions, ensuring that his perspective on low carbon energy had a synergy with his experience of enterprise. It fitted his character too: he had an appetite for risk but unlike some risk-takers this was bound up with a strong moral sense and a delight in the company of his fellow human beings.

Over the years Ariel became known to us as a passionate and engaged teacher, and a colleague who, before his illness, was a regular participant in all our CEPMLP meetings and events.

Ariel Bergmann

Two passions emerged in Ariel in recent years that we noted with interest: he became fiercely committed to his PhD group of students which grew beyond the maximum allowed since he was so popular as a supervisor. They surrounded him like a paterfamilias figure, knowing his loyalty to them was absolute and receiving in return an enviable reputation. He was able to see all of them graduate, and was very proud but modest about his contribution (‘it was their success’, he would insist).

The other passion was a large EU-funded research project which he participated in on crowdfunding, jointly with colleagues from the University Business School. He loved the work and the collaboration with his colleagues, and was visibly proud of going to Brussels to present the project’s findings a couple of years ago.

Ariel and his partner, Margaret, opened a small hotel (a bed & breakfast) in Dundee and he clearly enjoyed making his contribution (when he had time) to this venture. His infectious humour earned him a place at the University’s Bright Club, and that power of comedy lives on in a stand-up sketch available on You Tube. He even performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You could look at Ariel sometimes and wonder if he was thinking: Here I am, an American in Scotland, sharing ideas and having fun with all you good people. That humour and sociability combined with evident depth of thinking and insight made Ariel popular: always welcome, ever ready with a joke or a quip, willing to stop and talk to students and colleagues, obviously enjoying the conversation, forever a sociable man who loved ideas.

Ariel had a long battle with cancer. He returned to work when he seemed to have beaten it. Once again we enjoyed that humour of his, which was undimmed despite his struggle. It was a short victory, alas. The last time I saw Ariel I gave him a big hug. It seemed the right thing to do when words could come no longer.

Peter Cameron, Director, CEPMLP

Some of the team have prepared this tribute, we hope you enjoy watching with happy memories.


Caroline McClelland

Marketing and Communications Officer

+44 (0)1382 388875

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