Professor Pavel Kratochvíl passed away

Professor Pavel Kratochvíl, DrSc., dr. h. c., who was a distinguished figure in the field of polymer chemistry and a leading expert in the physical chemistry of polymers, passed away on April 7th, 2023, at the age of 93. He had served as the former Director of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Professor Kratochvíl's academic journey started when he graduated from the Vančura Grammar School in Prague, followed by his enrollment at the University of Chemical Technology in Prague, where he later became a professor in the field of macromolecular chemistry in 1992. Prior to this, he gained experience as a technologist at the East Bohemian Chemical Works, and worked as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Chemical Technology in Pardubice. Afterwards, he relocated to the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, and in 1959, he joined the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, where he spent most of his professional career.

Professor Kratochvíl was appointed as the Director of the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in 1990, during a time of great change in Czech society, the Czech economy, and the system of scientific research. As Director for two terms from 1990 to 1998, he played a significant role in developing the institute in the new conditions of the post-revolutionary era. He was also instrumental in continuing the tradition established by the first Director of the institute, Professor Otto Wichterle, which contributed to the institute's prestige both as a scientist and as a director.

Apart from being a prominent and respected representative of critical scientific thinking, Professor Kratochvíl was also an advocate for high standards in scientific work and education. He spent a significant portion of his academic career teaching at his alma mater, the University of Chemical Technology in Prague, specifically at the Institute of Polymers, where he played a key role in educating generations of polymer chemists from the 1970s onwards. His work focused on the development of physical methods of polymer characterization, particularly in the use of light scattering techniques to study the solution behavior of block copolymers. He authored or co-authored more than 200 publications in international journals.

Throughout his career, Professor Kratochvíl was very active in a number of national and international professional organizations. He received numerous awards, including a State Prize, a prize of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, a silver medal of the Faculty of Science of Charles University, and a medal of the Brno University of Technology. He was also invited to join the editorial boards of foreign scientific journals and was admitted to major foreign scientific societies and their bodies, for example, he was a Fellow of the British Royal Society of Chemistry. He helped to establish the Learned Society of the Czech Republic, served as a member of the Czech Commission for UNESCO, the Permanent Working Group on Chemistry, the Accreditation Commission, scientific boards of universities, and many other bodies.