In Memoriam

A portrait of Charlotte Froese Fischer with white hair, glasses, and a blue pendant.
Charlotte Froese Fischer, BA’52, MA’54

1929 – 2024

Dr. Charlotte Froese Fischer, a pioneer in the field of computational atomic structure theory, passed away on February 8, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of scientific innovation and academic excellence. Her contributions to UBC stand as a testament to her unwavering dedication to both education and research.

Dr. Fischer’s relationship with UBC began in the 1950s, when she earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry, followed by an MA in chemistry. She then joined the faculty in 1957 as a professor in the Department of Mathematics. After completing her PhD in computer science at the University of Cambridge, she returned to help UBC establish its computer science department.

Dr. Fischer's tenure at UBC was characterized by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and a commitment to excellence. She introduced computer courses into the curriculum, recognizing the transformative potential of computational methods in scientific inquiry. Her approach laid the groundwork for future generations of students to explore the intersection of mathematics and computer science.

Beyond her innovative teaching methods, Dr. Fischer's research at UBC propelled the university to the forefront of atomic structure theory. Her work in extending the Hartree-Fock method revolutionized the study of complex atomic systems, paving the way for ground-breaking advancements in spectroscopy, plasma physics, microelectronics, and astrophysics.

Having immigrated from Ukraine at the height of the Soviet Union, Dr. Fischer remained deeply grateful for the opportunities afforded to her by Canada and UBC. Her appreciation for education and her advocacy for scientific inquiry served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing her. Her memory at UBC will continue thanks to two endowment funds she created that will continue to support students and research.

As we bid farewell to a true trailblazer, let us remember Dr. Charlotte Froese Fischer not only for her achievements but also for her unwavering dedication to the pursuit of knowledge.