In memory of Prof. Ivan Sekulov

“Globalization, internationalization, interweaving of different sciences – there are things that everyone talks about nowadays. The world we are living in has closer and closer geographical and cultural borders – thanks to modern communications, economic relations, political changes through the past decades as well as the scientific achievements in the global influence on the actions of us, the people. Thanks to the researchers and the engineers who work within the limits of the separate disciplines, for example within microbiology and medicine or within microbiology, technology and buildings engineering, appear new, often revolutionary opportunities. The key word here is biotechnology with its different nuances, one part leaning to pharmacology, the other to Eco technology.
The person we commemorate today…, has become a well-known representative of this new world. A martyr, who contributed to and actively excelled numerous times the revolutionary changes and progress.”

Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Drs. h.c. Peter Wilderer, 2001

Prof. Dr. Eng. Dr. h. c. Mult. Ivan Sekulov is a renowned scientist with worldwide recognition.
He was born on 18.03.1931. His love for the sea, because he was born in the city of Burgas, may be predefines his path of life and work. In the period 1952-1957 he receives his diploma for water-supply engineer – Water and Sewerage discipline in The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG), (former Engineering and Building Institute /EBI/).
Despite the Iron Curtain and the lack of party affiliation, through 1961-1962 with a scholarship from the World Health Organization he specializes in The Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in The Netherlands and gets a diploma for Water Science and Technologies.

“This is how he often crosses the borders between two existing by that time political worlds transforming him into an arbitrary between the different disciplines. His field of activity is between buildings engineering and technology with multiple interweaving of areas from physics, chemistry and biology.”

Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Drs. h.c. Peter Wilderer, 2001

In 1971 he defends his doctorate (scholarship of The “Alexander von Humbold” Foundation) in the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart, Institut für Siedlungswasserbau, under the supervision of Prof. Pöpel concerning: Elimination of phosphorus using permanently irradiated blue algae, honored with “Summa cum laude”. As a chief assistant in the Department for Biological Wastewater Treatment (1971-1980) he is the coordinator of the Special State Fund (SFB-82) of the German Federal Science Society (DFG) of 14 interdisciplinary projects in the field of Wastewater Pre-Treatment (elimination of nitrogen, phosphates and micro pollutants).

“By that time as opposed to nowadays, the notion biological elimination of phosphorus is an absolutely foreign word in the area of the urban water industry, and Ivan Sekulov himself considered an exotic person. Back then the wastewater world in Germany was just putting out the feelers for nitrification. The fact that wastewater pre-treatment was about to become more and more popular and will necessitate a detailed research to be prepared and elaborated the needed technology for the purpose, was just a vision which Prof. Sekulov developed with extreme diligence. As a result was established the special research department 82 to the Stuttgart University named Wastewater Pre-Treatment, which he led.“

Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Drs. h.c. Peter Wilderer, 2001

In 1981 he is elected for University Professor of Wastewater Treatment Science and Technology department in TUHH (The University of Technology, Harburg).

“It was planned the establishment of a research university which was not to offer the traditional disciplines, but higher and wider research programs. With his broad and foresighted vision Prof. Sekulov was the perfect fit for this concept.“

Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Drs. h.c. Peter Wilderer, 2001

The work of Prof. Sekulov is vast and diverse. His scientific essays outnumber 270. He is the author of publications for fundamental research in connection to hard to dissolve chemical oxygen demand (COD), active carbon, filtration, elimination of nitrogen. He is also the author of two books – Advanced Wastewater Treatment, 1977 and Elimination of Nitrogen, 1988.

The greatest talent of Prof. Sekulov is his practical work.
“Today research is the one side and practice is the other side of the things. In the area of engineering science, research remains ungrounded without connection to practice. This is the reason why Prof. Sekulov found his second mainstay right after his appointment in Hamburg – under the form of an engineering company, where he can work as a partner and directly put into practice the results of his research, as well as vice versa.
This combination turned out to be very successful, not only in close proximity to The Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Harburg, but also in Hamburg itself, and Schleswig-Holstein state, as well as outside Germany. Prof. Sekulov develops his activity also in Turkey, Portugal, Russia, Tunisia, Iran, and after the political changes in Bulgaria as well.”

Prof. Dr. Dr.-Ing. Drs. h.c. Peter Wilderer, 2001

Due to his brilliance as a University Professor, Prof. Sekulov is invited for Guest Professor in different countries around the world, as well as for session reporter of many international scientific forums. His credit found recognition in the numerous international awards he received. For example, he has a Vili Hager gold medal for internationally renowned work and significant contribution in the area of advanced wastewater treatment and the successful application of new scientific achievements, Vili Hager (DECHEMA, ATV – industrial chemistry company), Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2001). After the democratic reforms in Bulgaria, actively and with great enthusiasm Prof. Sekulov takes part in the finding of solutions for wastewater treatment as well as for the education of students. As a member of the technical sciences department to The Union of Scientists in Bulgaria (USB) and the Editor’s Council of Science magazine (Nauka) in 1994 at the Fourth Congress of USB, Prof. Dr.-Eng. Ivan Sekulov is awarded Honorable Member of the Union of Scientists of Bulgaria. In 2000 Prof. Sekulov opens a German-Bulgarian engineering company in Sofia – Delphin Projekt Ecotechnica LTD. He is a loved and renowned university professor in UACEG, where he prepared not only special courses, but also found a way to finance and create a special research study laboratory. He has a significant contribution to the foreign language learning for students of The University оf Chemical Technology аnd Metallurgy (UCTM), Sofia by organizing an engineering course in German, financed by DAAD, Germany. For all these activities he was awarded the honorable scientific title Doctor Honoris Causa of the The University оf Chemical Technology аnd Metallurgy (UCTM) for achievements in the development of the European Higher Education and expansion of the Bulgarian-German scientific and cultural relations, Sofia, 1994; as well as Doctor Honoris Causa of The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) for his active academic work for the creation of a modern laboratory at the Faculty of Hydraulic Engineering to UACEG and his international authority and personal contribution to the development of important trends of the theory and practice for wastewater treatment, Sofia (2003). Prof. Dr. Eng. Dr. h. c. Mult. Ivan Sekulov passed away in February 2017. Until his final days he was professionally active and full of ideas. The water sector lost an incredible person who was lifelong creative and always inspired us. We owe him a lot and will always keep a warm memory of him.

To our teacher and mentor – with love and respect
The team of Delphin Projekt Ecotechnica LTD