The University of Utah’s Physics & Astronomy community is deeply saddened by the passing of Frank Ephraim Harris, a renowned theoretical physicist and physical chemist, who passed away on March 9, 2023, at the age of 93. Frank was born on August 26, 1929, in Boston, Massachusetts. After earning an A.B. in Chemistry from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, Frank served as an Instructor in Chemistry at Harvard, an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Berkeley, and an Assistant and Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford before joining the faculties of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Utah in 1969. He was Dean of the University of Utah’s College of Science from 1973 to 1975. From 1998, he served as a Resident Adjunct Professor in the Quantum Theory Project at the University of Florida.
Frank’s contributions to atomic and molecular quantum mechanics, both theoretical and computational, were immense. Having authored nearly 250 published papers and three books, his wide range of interests included studies of electronic structure and properties of atoms, molecules, and solids, as well as study and development of highly technical mathematical aspects of quantum chemistry. Throughout his career, he made several seminal contributions to the mathematical tools used to evaluate integrals and other quantities used in quantum chemistry calculations.
Frank was an inspiration, friend, colleague, and mentor to many. He was well-traveled, having visited many countries, and could pick up a new language quickly. He was also an accomplished musician and he led some of the more robust hikes through the Norwegian and Swedish mountains, as part of the total experience of the Scandinavian Summer Schools in the 1960s. Frank’s presence in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Utah enhanced the department’s stature in many regards and he played a key role in attracting many talented faculty members. Frank will be deeply missed by our community – his many colleagues, students, and friends. His wit, intelligence, and immense contributions to the field of theoretical chemistry will be remembered for many generations to come.