Johann-Jakob Gerster and Helga Gerster
The daughter of Johann-Jakob Gerster MD (1886-1954) of Gelterkinden, Switzerland, Helga Gerster (born 1938) has preserved the extensive inheritance of her father, a pioneer of the method of birth control developed by Knaus/Ogino.
After studying English and German literature at the University of Basel Helga worked as an editor in medical publishing companies in Basel and London before joining the Department of Experimental Medical Research at Hoffmann-LaRoche in Basel (1968-1982). From 1982 to 1998 she worked as a science writer in Roche’s Vitamin Research Department where she published more than 50 scientific review articles on the prevention of degenerative diseases by antioxidants and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in leading scientific journals.
Supported by her partner, the physicist Martin Schadt (who together with Wolfgang Helfrich discovered the twisted nematic field effect leading to today’s flat panel LCD screens) Helga Gerster examined and organized the numerous documents from the many years of her father’s close collaboration with Hermann Knaus (1892-1970). We owe her thanks for donating the two men’s correspondence from 1933 to 1954, photographs, books, translations and personal reminiscences.