The 100th anniversary of Vaclav Votruba
News, 17 December 2009
The 100th anniversary of the birth of the outstanding Czech scientist and the first JINR Vice-Director Václav Votruba will be celebrated on 19 December.
Václav Votruba (December 19, 1909 – September 11, 1990) was born in Slavetin nad Ohri. After graduating from the faculty of Natural Science of the Charles University he became an assistant of Professor F. Záviska. When the Czech universities were closed by the Nazis he taught physics at a high school, later he was a plain laborer. The death of his teacher at the end of the war challenged him with the task of building a modern school of theoretical physics. He accomplished it quite; almost every Czech theoretician has Professor Votruba in his "genealogy". Those who were privileged to work under his direct supervision may testify that he was a true "spiritus movens" of at least two generations. The best known among his original work is probably the solution of the photoproduction problem of electron-positron pairs found during his stay with G. Wentzel and W. Pauli in Zurich (1946- 47) before the invention of Feynman diagrams. He studied also muon decays, isospin algebra and many other problems of quantum and classical physics. As a teacher he was famous for his perfectly prepared and presented lectures, their style being reflected in his textbooks Theory of electromagnetic fields (together with Professor C. Muzikár) and Foundations of the Special Relativity Theory.
Based on materials of http://gemma.ujf.cas.cz/