Today at Berkeley Lab

In Memoriam: Jack V. Franck

Jack V. Franck Jack V. Franck, a prolific inventor and one of the first two electronic technicians at Ernest Lawrence’s original Radiation Laboratory, passed away on July 29 at the age of 93. Franck joined Lawrence’s Lab immediately after receiving his Masters in Electrical Engineering from U.C Berkeley in 1941, leaving in 1942 to became an Ensign in the Navy, where he served on PT Boats in both the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters. By 1946 he returned to the Lab and remained there for the rest of his career, designing and building devices that enabled physicists to push the boundaries of their fields. Upon his retirement, the UC Regents bestowed Franck with emeritus engineer status. Among his most renowned inventions was the “Franckenstein,” a scanning table that reduced bubble chamber film to machine-readable data. Six of Franck’s inventions were displayed at the Smithsonian’s Atom Smasher–Fifty Years exhibit. Donations in his name may be made to P.T Boats. PO Box 38070 Germantown TN 38183-0070. There will be a celebration of his life at the family home at a later date. More>>


  1. Jack was one of those truly towering role models. Each of his projects had a kind of super-alloy character to it; you didn’t know how it worked but it solved your problem. His group was called “Special Projects” for very good reasons, and his role was and will always be, admired and remembered. Godspeed, Jack.