One of the best and most inspiring researchers of auctions is Mike Rothkopf. He passed away last February, see the in memoriam web site.
We have known Mike Rothkopf as an outstanding leader in the international research community: very inspiring for us and he motivated us a lot to understand and improve the functioning of auctions in a business context.
We invited Mike for Otto Koppius` PhD defence (May 2002) and Laura Rothkopf was joining him on their trip to the Netherlands. We showed them the Dutch flower auctions and Mike was amazed by the speed of the flower auctions and the complicated logistics and he was very happy to go into all the details.
We regularly discussed his and our auction research - usually at the annual INFORMS conferences. He inspired many researchers around the world and was a true leader in improving our field by creating research results that were conceptual outstanding and exceptional relevant for practice. For my own research, Mike's paper with Ron Harstad "Modeling Competitive Bidding: A Critical Essay" (Management Science 40, pp. 364-384, 1994) was a real stimulus for me to dive into the real world of auctions.