Emeritus Fellow – Pavel Kratochvil

Prof. Pavel Kratochvíl has been awarded the status of Emeritus Fellow in Division IV. This 2020 appointment reflects his standing as a scientist and continuing service to the division and to the Union.

Prof. Kratochvíl’s career in polymer science has been in the general area of polymer physical chemistry, focusing on characterization of polymers and copolymers, especially by light scattering from polymer solutions, and determination of their molecular parameters. In his own words, the physical chemistry of polymers creates the theoretical foundation for the entire chemistry of large molecules. He is the author of around two hundred papers, ten reviews and five book chapters. His book “Classical Light Scattering from Polymer Solutions” (Elsevier 1987) remains one of the preeminent textbooks on this subject.

Prof. Kratochvíl is now an emeritus professor at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry (IMC) of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, one of the world’s foremost institutes devoted to basic research in polymer science. His professional life has been entirely connected with the IMC. He was hired by Prof. Otto Wichterle, the famous Czech scientist who was the inaugural President of the IUPAC Polymer Division, to join the newly established institute in 1957. In 1960 he obtained his Ph.D. and in 1968 his D.Sc., both from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In 1992 he became professor of macromolecular chemistry at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. From 1990 to 1998 he served as director of the IMC.

Prof. Kratochvíl has been very active both in science and science management. He is a founding member of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and he has served as a member of numerous boards, both nationally and internationally. He has been honored with a multitude of awards, including the Czechoslovak National Prize for Science (in 1970), the Prize of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1977), the IUPAC Samsung Education Prize (2005), the Emil Votocek Medal (for development of science and technology) of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague (2006), and an Honorary Medal for life service to the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (2019).

Among the many professional bodies to which he has belonged, Prof. Kratochvíl appreciates most of all his IUPAC membership: in the Polymer Division he found like-minded colleagues and formed life-long friendships, and the feeling is mutual! Indeed, one Division member recently said of him: “Pavel is an outstanding scientist and he is the living archive of the Division. He is famous for his ‘elephant memory’”. All regard him as “our good and highly esteemed friend and colleague”. He started his IUPAC activities as an observer in the Commission on Macromolecular Nomenclature (now SPT) in 1977. He was elected a Titular Member of this Commission in 1979, and served as its chairman from 1985 to 1991. In the years from 1985 to 1995, he was a member of the Interdivisional Committee on Nomenclature and Symbols (now ICTNS). He became a member of the Macromolecular Division Committee in 1994.

In addition to his direct involvement in IUPAC activities, Pavel has been highly involved in various IUPAC-sponsored meetings in Prague, most notably the International Symposia on Macromolecules (now known as World Polymer Congresses) in 1965 and 1992, including being chair of the latter, and also the Prague Meetings on Macromolecules, organized annually by the IMC. Prof. Kratochvíl served as chairman of the Czech National Committee for Chemistry, which is the National Adhering Organization for the Czech Republic to IUPAC. He established the well-known “UNESCO/IUPAC Postgraduate Course in Polymer Science”, which provides a 10-month training program to young scientists under the auspices of UNESCO and IUPAC. In June 2020 the 24th class of students graduated, and Prof. Kratochvíl has not missed any of these courses! This reflects his unending devotion to helping young scientists at the beginning of their careers.

Everyone who has had the privilege of being close to Prof. Kratochvíl appreciates his high moral standards and his uncompromising adherence to top quality standards in science, a rigor which makes him an invaluable scrutineer of SPT documents to this very day. Discussions with him about macromolecules and polymer science, as well as life in general, have always been highly enriching.

Prof. Kratochvíl recently celebrated his 90th birthday, which was recognized by a special IUPAC plaque in appreciation of his service and dedication to Div. IV (see CI Oct 2020, p.48).

 

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Igor Lacík and Pavel Kratochvíl (12 June 2020)
Igor Lacík presents Prof. Pavel Kratochvíl with an award to celebrate his 90th birthday