Dr. Jan Urbanec, one of the first NPI directors, passed away

09. 04. 2020

On March 31, 2020, Dr. Jan Urbanec died. It was almost exactly four months before his 96th birthday, which he would celebrate on July 30. Until the last moment, despite serious eye disease, he was still in relatively good shape.

Jan Urbanec has worked at the Nuclear Physics Institute since its beginnings in Prague-Hostivař. Besides Prof. Čestmír Šimáně, Jan Urbanec was the main fouder of the entire research area in Řež. This information is probably not generally known due to his modest character. Later he became an important scientist in neutron physics, where he was highly valued (especially in JINR Dubna institute near Moscow).

The huge injustice happened to Jan Urbanec at the time of so-called Czechoslovak „normalization“ after 1968 year. He was deprived of the post of director and then, like a long row of his colleagues, was fired from the institute. However, thanks to his broad knowledge and skills, he was able to work in a number of other completely different fields and worked practically until the age of ninety years. With the death of Jan Urbanec we lost one of the last living founders of our institute, but his name will be permanently linked to the institute’s origins.