Václav Votruba (December 19, 1909 - September 11, 1990)
was born in Slavetin nad Ohri. After graduating from the faculty of Natural
Science of the Charles University he became an assistant of Professor F.
Záviska. When the Czech universities were closed by the Nazis he taught
physics at a high school, later he was a plain laborer. The death of his
teacher at the end of the war challenged him with the task of building a
modern school of theoretical physics. He accomplished it quite; almost every
Czech theoretician has Professor Votruba in his "genealogy". Those who were
privileged to work under his direct supervision may testify that he was a
true "spiritus movens" of at least two generations.
The best known among his original work is probably the solution of the
photoproduction problem of electron-positron pairs found during his stay
with G. Wentzel and W. Pauli in Zurich (1946- 47) before the invention of
Feynman diagrams. He studied also muon decays, isospin algebra and many
other problems of quantum and classical physics. As a teacher he was famous
for his perfectly prepared and presented lectures, their style being reflected
in his textbooks Theory of electromagnetic fields (together with Professor
C. Muzikár) and Foundations of the Special Relativity Theory.