PARIS (AP) _ Louis Leprince-Ringuet, one of the fathers of French nuclear physics and a top specialist in particle physics, has died in Paris. He was 99.
Leprince-Ringuet died Saturday at his home in Paris, a source close to the family told The Associated Press. He was a member of the Academy of Sciences and the prestigious Academie Francaise, a gathering of the country’s top minds.
Helene Carrere d’Encausse, head of the Academie Francaise, said she was ``deeply saddened″ by Leprince’s death, especially because he had been looking forward to reaching the age of 100.
``He was hoping to reach his 100th birthday because the academy has never had a centenarian among its members,″ she said. Academy members are entrusted with safeguarding the French language and culture.
Leprince-Ringuet was also a prolific author, publishing numerous works, including ``Cosmic Rays,″ ``Of Atoms and Man,″ and ``Science and the Happiness of Man.″
He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique in 1920 and received a doctorate in 1933. In 1959, Leprince-Ringuet was named the College of France’s chair of nuclear physics.
The death of Leprince-Ringuet, who was born March 27, 1901, in the city of Arles in southern France, drew condolences from French President Jacques Chirac.
``Our country has lost one of its greatest minds,″ Chirac said in a statement Sunday. ``It is with sadness that I learned of the death of Louis Leprince-Ringuet ... a man who, throughout his life, lived the humanistic values that France represents.″