Prof. PAVLE SAVIĆ
1909 – 1994
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Belgrade, Serbia
Prof. Pavle Savić was a Serbian physicist and chemist. Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, at a time of much upheaval in the Balkans still not fully free of Ottoman or Austrian control, Savić would go on to graduate with a degree in physical chemistry from the University of Belgrade in 1932. In 1939, he received a 6-month scholarship from the Académie française to study at the Radium Institute, Paris, and he would spend 4 years in France. In the years 1937 and 1938, he worked with Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie on interactions of neutrons in chemical physics of heavy elements. This turned out to be an important step in the discovery of nuclear fission. Together with Irène Joliot-Curie, Savić was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics.
At the start of World War II, Savić left France and returned to Yugoslavia to fight for the liberation of his homeland as a partisan against German occupation.
After the war he was one of the primary promoters of the idea of constructing the Vinča Nuclear Institute in Vinca. He was the principal of the Vinca from 1960–1961. In the early sixties he introduced, along with Radivoje Kašanin, main physical ideas and examples of applicability in astrophysics and pure physics of a semiclassical theory of dense matter. A hypothesis, advanced by Savic with the aim of solving the problem of the origin of rotation of celestical bodies. They also explained the behavior of the materials under high pressures.
In 1966 he assumed an academic post at his alma mater, the University of Belgrade, as a professor in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Physical Chemistry and Department of Physics, now Faculty of Physical Chemistry & Faculty of Physics. In 1981, he took his retirement. He was also the president of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts from 1971 to 1981, the year he retired.
He published his last scientific paper a few months before his death, at the age of 85, in Belgrade. Professor Savić passed away on 30 May 1994.