Academician Zvonko Marić (1931-2006), a pioneer of quantum physics in Serbia and one of the ‘fathers’ of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade was posthumously honoured in Leskovac with the Medal for outstanding services. On the occasion of the Day of Liberation of Leskovac in the Second World War, at a celebration held on 11 October 2021, in the town where Marić completed primary school and gymnasium, our great quantum physicist was recognized for his ‘outstanding contribution to the affirmation of physics and promotion of the town of Leskovac in the country and abroad’.
Dr Aleksandar Bogojević, director of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade received the award in the Hall of the National Theatre, at a ceremonial assembly of the City Hall of Leskovac. Zvonko Marić has been the thread that binds the Institute of Physics and Leskovac, said Dr Bogojević, emphasizing that as a forefather of the Institute, Marić paved the way for domestic research in an important field of physics, while having the spirit of Leskovac town inside himself at the same time.
Expressing his gratitude to the people of Leskovac for cherishing the memory of their famous fellow citizen’s personality and work, the director of the Institute also expressed hope that in the Leskovac gymnasium, where a plaquette dedicated to Zvonko Maric is awarded, new young people will choose the path of physics and then come to the Institute of Physics, Belgrade.
Zvonko Marić is one of the foremost theoreticians in domestic physics of the second part of the 20th century. After the formation of the first research groups, in 1972, only ten years after its founding, Marić joined the then Institute of Physics in Belgrade and made a major impact on its accelerated development. Marić engaged in quantum mechanics thus giving the tone to the way of thinking about contemporary physics, present at the Institute to this day.
Marić finished primary school and gymnasium in Leskovac, while he studied physics at the then Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Belgrade. He received his PhD in 1960 with the thesis ‘Light Dispersion in Atomic Nuclei’ earning one of the first domestic PhDs in physics. He cooperated with numerous researchers in Europe prompting the development of several generations of domestic physicists. He received the Nolit Prize for his book ‘An Experiment on Physical Reality’. He was a full member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was laid to rest in the Alley of Meritorious Citizens at the New Cemetery in Belgrade.
The Medal of the Town of Leskovac will be on display in the Hall of the Institute bearing the name of Zvonko Marić.