Reint de Boer was born in Upgant (Norden), Germany in 1935 and went through primary and secondary schools there. He studied civil engineering at the Technische Hochschule Hannover (1957–1962). He stayed there subsequently as a staff member, receiving the Dr.-Ing. degree (1966) and Habilitation (1970), and was a member of its teaching faculty (1970–1977). In 1977 he moved to the University of Essen, Germany as a full Professor, a position he held until his retirement two years ago. He has also held visiting positions at several places as either a Research Fellow or Visiting Professor, including Technische Hochschule Brno (Slovakia), Technische Hochschule Vienna, University of California (both Berkeley and San Diego), and University of Chongqing (China).

Professor de Boer's main fields of research interest have been continuum mechanics and structural mechanics. However, as his following Retrospective article makes clear, his interest in porous media was generated by Stefan Kowalski from...

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