Francisco Prats

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Francisco Prats

Legacy Faculty, 1965-92


On August 4, 1996, on a trip with his wife Dorothy Chandler Prats to family in Concord, New Hampshire, our close friend and colleague, Francisco Prats, passed away at the age of 74.

Paco grew up in Guadalajara, Spain, and was a graduate of the University of Madrid. He emigrated to this country in 1955, and earned his Ph.D. in 1958 in theoretical physics under Professor John Toll (later Chancellor) at the University of Maryland, with a thesis on the inverse-scattering problem (construction of the interaction from phase shifts and bound states) for the Dirac equation. After a postdoctoral in England, he took a research position at the then National Bureau of Standards here in Washington, DC, working in Ugo Fano's atomic physics group. Professors Zuchelli and Hobbs of our Physics Department brought him to GW in 1965. For the next 27 years, he contributed to our University and to physics. He was elected chair of the Physics Department from 1980 to 1987. During his tenure, the Physics Department was invigorated by his example and by his clear thinking. His research efforts and those he influenced laid the ground work for establishing GW's international reputation in the field of nuclear physics. After being named Professor Emeritus in 1992, Paco was able to continue his deep interest in our welfare and in his research while taking special joy being a husband to his wife and father to his two grown children, Francisco Chandler Prats and Andrea Chandler Prats. At Paco's death, he left his mother, two brothers, and three sisters in Madrid.

We remember Paco's firm dedication to principle and unpretentious style, both in life and in his research. His stories always carried a lesson for his students or colleagues. He was a warm friend, a fine physicist, a man of refined judgment, and above all, a good human being.

2000, W.C. Parke