Obituary: Per-Oskar Persson

The former Managing Director of Frigoscandia AB, Per-Oskar Persson of Helsingborg, Sweden passed away on August 26, 2008, at the age of 84. He was an Honorary Member of IIR, President of Commission D1, 1971 - 1979, and Head of Section D 1979 - 1987. Per-Oskar Persson graduated, (MSc) from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm in 1949 after which he was engaged as assistant to Professor Matts Bäckström. During the years at KTH Per-Oskar Persson worked with a number of projects related to academic research as well as industrial developments. He was active in a wide variety of projects. One of these dealt with a drier for humid air using a compact rotor and resulted in a strong patent, which still is a base for the Munter's Industries. He was also engaged in stabilizing soil by freezing when building tunnels for the subway in Stockholm. Work in cooperation with professors at the medical faculty dealing with hypothermia, resulted in equipment for cooling patients during heart and brain surgery. The emerging industry in cold storage and frozen food called for expertise and Per-Oskar Persson was early engaged. This lead to employment in 1958 as technical director at Helsingborgs Fryshus AB (later Frigoscandia AB). His R&D work and leadership resulted in a number of commercial innovations ranging from construction of cold stores, refrigeration equipment in transport and insulation, to elaborate freezing equipment. An important innovation was the use of fluidization in food freezing (‘FloFreeze'); the original patent came already 1961. Frigoscandia Equipment AB has over the years introduced a large range of other freezing and food processing equipment. A development of later date was impingement freezing, enabling extremely fast freezing. At the time of Per-Oskar Person's retirement Frigoscandia Equipment AB had a market share of 50% of the world market for food freezing equipment. After retirement he took up his old interest in medical applications. He started a private company developing a new type of freezer for human blood plasma. Today there are about 100 freezers in operation within Scandinavia and export have started successfully. Per-Oskar Persson has published more than 50 technical papers and his name appears in a number of important patents that have led to commercial applications. Many of us remember his speech "Refrigeration and its influence on the world food supply now and in the future" when he left this position as Head of Section D at the Congress in Vienna 1987. He received a number of prestigious awards of which the following list gives examples: - Food Price from The Swedish Society of Food Technology, 1966 - Gold medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science, 1970 - Ottesen Gold Medal for "Outstanding contribution in the service of the Refrigeration Industry", 1987 - Honorary Doctor of Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, 1987 - Quick Frozen Foods Internationals "The Golden Ice Crystal Lifetime Achievement Award," 2001. Per Oskar Persson had a genuine interest in human society and was an advocate for close contacts between academia and industry. He was an extremely good team-builder promoting especially young coworkers. He is deeply missed by all of us who had the opportunity to work with him. Eric Granryd Professor Emeritus