December 2013: Professor Patrick Jacobs Passes

pwmjProfessor Patrick William McCarthy Jacobs, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc passed away on March 31st, 2013 and the world of chemistry lost an enthusiastic participant with a distinguished record of publication, teaching and co-operative research. Born September 15, 1923 in Umhlali (near Durban), KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Patrick obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Natal. After stints in the Special Signals Unit [army] and at Rhodes College after the war, he moved to Imperial College, London, England, where he received his Ph.D. in 1951 and D.Sc. in 1963, attaining the post of senior lecturer. In 1965 he moved to the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario to become a Professor of Chemistry. In 1970, Patrick co-founded the Centre for Chemical Physics at Western with Dr. William McGowan, bringing together likeminded researchers to create an interdisciplinary network. Patrick carried out research in the areas of solid state reactions, electronic and ionic defects in crystals, simulation of solids using molecular dynamics and quantum chemical techniques, publishing a total of 315 papers and two books, "Group Theory with Applications in Chemical Physics" in 2005 and "Thermodynamics" in 2013. He was an early pioneer on the use of molecular dynamics, in the computer simulation of defect clustering, impurity and anion diffusion, defect Gibbs energies, many body forces, dipole moments, and more. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1980, he assisted universities in Latvia and Poland in rebuilding their research programs, and he was recognized by the Royal Society of Chemistry in a tribute volume of the Philosophical Magazine. Patrick formally retired in 1989, but as Professor Emeritus was very active in research until 2009, and continued an interest in science until the end of his life. Patrick is survived by his spouse, Mary Frances Mullin, first wife Elizabeth Jacobs, children Richard Jacobs, Laura Jacobs Yousif and Robert Jacobs; also by grandchildren Armand Yousif and Tali Yousif. He was predeceased by second wife, Rita Neale. He is remembered by his many friends, colleagues and family members as an incisive intellect, a great wit and someone capable of living life to the fullest, as evidenced by his many hobbies: travel, hiking, camping, gardening, theatre, opera, orchestral music, art, reading and baking bread.

In his memory, a one-day meeting, “Advances in Chemistry of Disordered Solids: A Symposium Honouring the Contributions of Professor Patrick Jacobs” was held at University College London, London, UK, September 13, 2013. The meeting was hosted by Professor Richard Catlow (University College London), organized by Dr. Rob Jackson (Keele University), and attended by scientists from the UK, Ireland, Latvia, the USA and Canada. Richard Jacobs (son, Toronto) also attended. Many of the participants were Patrick’s former collaborators, and several were frequent visitors to Western via the Senior Visiting Fellowship program of the Chemical Physics. A special issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society in memory of Patrick Jacobs is being organized by Professor Richard Catlow.


Some of the participants at the “Advances in Chemistry of Disordered Solids: A Symposium Honouring the Contributions of Professor Patrick Jacobs”, held at University College London, London, UK, September 13, 2013.

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