John E. Fischer, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, died at age 72 on June 28, 2011, at his home in Swarthmore after a decades long battle with complications arising from polycystic kidney disease.
Dr. Fischer was recognized as a world leader in the science and engineering of carbon-based materials and was cited as one of the world's top 20 scientists in the field of nanotechnology. His seminal studies of the physics and chemistry of carbon-based materials provided the basis for many advances in battery and energy storage technologies. Throughout his career, Dr. Fischer authored more than 400 papers, received numerous awards that included Fellowship of the American Physical Society, presented more than 200 invited lectures at national and international meetings, and mentored dozens of young undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral scholars.
Dr. Fischer graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, with a PhD in nuclear science and engineering. He took a postdoctoral year (1966-67) in Paris at l'Ecole Normale Superieure (learning to speak fluent French) and, after doing research for a number of years at Michelson Laboratory in China Lake, California, joined the faculty at Penn in 1973, first in electrical engineering and later (1984) in materials science and engineering. He became emeritus in 2007.
Dr. Fischer is survived by his wife, Linda; two sons, John, Jr., and Jason; a daughter, Ruth, two grandsons, Quinlan and Garrick Schultz; his sister, June Roos; and a niece and a nephew.
Contributions in Dr. Fischer's memory may be made to the Polycystic Kidney
Disease Foundation at: www.pkdcure.org/jackfischer