Back to the list of articles


Prof. Josef Michl passes away at the age of 85

On Monday, 13 May 2024, Prof. Josef Michl, a world-renowned chemist and a foreign fellow of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic, died unexpectedly.

The scope of his professional interests was vast. He was an outstanding theoretician and experimenter, devoted, among other things, to macromolecular chemistry, photochemistry, molecular electronics, research aimed at the development of efficient solar cells, the creation of molecular "building blocks" (enabling, among other things, the creation of nanorotors and nanomotors)...

He studied chemistry at the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague. He was a PhD student of quantum chemist Rudolf Zahradnik at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1968, he went to Norway for a summer school of quantum chemistry; after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, he stayed abroad - first in Denmark, then became a professor at the University of Salt Lake City. In 1986, he accepted a position at the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1991, he moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 2006, he has also worked at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS. In 1986, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

"He was one of the few true geniuses I have had the honor to meet," says Prof. Jan Konvalinka, director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (and a fellow of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic). "He mastered several world languages, had extensive knowledge of history and culture, and a deep understanding of the natural sciences. The science he did was not only brilliant but also beautiful, playful, and witty. Besides that, and above all, he was a kind and generous man. We will miss him dearly."