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Charlotte Froese Fischer

  Acad. Prof. Dr. Charlotte Froese Fischer PhD (b. 1929) is a Canadian-American applied mathematician and computer scientist who gained world recognition for the development and implementation of the Multi-configurational Hartree-Fock (MCHF) approach to atomic structure calculations and for her theoretical prediction concerning the existence of the negative calcium ion (Physical Review Letters, vol. 59, pp. 2263-2266, 1987). For this last honor, she was elected to fellowship in the American Physical Society.

Early Life

Charlotte Froese Fischer was born on September 21, 1929 in Nikolayevka, Ukraine to parents of Mennonite descent. Her parents immigrated to Germany on the last train allowed to cross the border before its closure by Soviet authorities. After a few months in a refugee camp, her family was allowed to immigrate to Canada, where they eventually established themselves in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Education and research

She obtained both a B.A. degree, with honors in Mathematics and Chemistry, and an M.A. degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of British Columbia in 1952 and 1954, respectively. She then obtained her Ph.D. in applied mathematics and computing at Cambridge University in 1957 pursuing coursework in quantum theory with P.A.M. Dirac and working under the supervision of Douglas Hartree, whom she assisted in programming the first Electronic Digital Stored program Automatic Computer (EDSAC) for atomic structure calculations.

She served on the mathematics faculty of the University of British Columbia from 1957 - 68 where she introduced numerical analysis and computer courses into the curriculum and was instrumental in the formation of the Computer Science Department.

The years 1963 - 64 were spent by Froese Fischer at the Harvard College Observatory, where she extended her research on atomic structure calculations. While at Harvard, she was the first woman scientist to be awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. Since then she has become internationally known for her software for atomic structure calculations and her research in atomic structure theory. In 1991 she became a Fellow of the American Physical Society, in part for her contribution to the discovery of negative calcium. In 1995 she was elected a member of the Royal Physiographical Society of Lund and in 2004, as a foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.


She is the author of over 260 research articles on computational atomic theory, many of which became citation classics for their far-reaching impact in the area of atomic structure calculations. One of her largest efforts in the field is the recent calculation, in collaboration with Georgio Tachiev and Andrei Irimia, of the complete lower spectra of the beryllium-like to argon-like isoelectronic sequences, amounting to the publication of data covering 400 journal pages and a total of over 150 ions (C Froese Fischer, G Tachiev (2004) Atomic Data Nucl Data Tables vol 87 pp 1-184 and C Froese Fischer, G Tachiev, A Irimia (2006) Atomic Data Nucl Data Tables vol 92 607-812)

She is currently an emerita research professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University and a guest scientist of the Atomic Spectroscopy Laboratory at NIST.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Charlotte_Froese_Fischer". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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