1929 - 2019
{ "" }
Share RICHARD's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
JONES, Richard Victor Physicist and Harvard Professor Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard University, devoted husband of Bernice Katz and father of three sons, died at 90 on November 11, 2019. The son of first-generation working class Welsh immigrants to Oakland, California, Victor received his PhD from University of California, Berkeley. Soon thereafter, he was present at the birth of the microelectronics industry as one of the first employees of Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, the original Silicon Valley startup that spawned Intel - a time he remembered as both chaotic and transformational. A patent with Shockley on a method for silicon crystallization paved the way for semiconductor fabrication and the modern computer age. At Harvard, Victor continued his work on semiconductor materials and mentored 34 PhD students who went on to stellar careers in academia and industry. His interests extended to atomic physics, with a stint as a Guggenheim fellow probing nuclear particles at the Harwell Laboratory in England, and electromagnetism. From 1971-72, he was Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, finding himself uncomfortably in the middle of the tumultuous student protests of that era. In his later career, Victor focused on optical information processing and building the engineering program at Harvard. With colleagues, he was instrumental in shifting undergraduate engineering teaching from lectures to project-based courses focused on solving real-world problems. Victor met his wife of nearly 50 years in the Cambridge folk dancing scene; they shared a common love of choral and folk music, progressive politics and community service. Their home in Arlington was the scene of countless gatherings for dancing, causes, and neighborhood meets. Victor was a performer at young and older ages in Gilbert & Sullivan productions and an amateur carpenter and handyman of great skill. He had a kind word, an attentive ear and a scientist's practical advice for all who met him. The care he provided to wife Bernice in their last decades was an inspiration to all. He will be greatly missed by his sons Jonathan, Daniel and Joshua, daughters-in-law Kimberly and Amanda, and grandkids Colin, Ian, Simone and Hazel, as well as generations of colleagues, students, mentees, friends and neighbors. Donations on Victor's behalf may be made to Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts or the American Civil Liberties Union. A Memorial Service is planned for the spring of 2020 at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

View the online memorial for Richard Victor JONES

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Boston Globe from Nov. 13 to Nov. 16, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
1 entry
November 16, 2019
Victor, a pirate in 1996
I remember sharing a G&S stage with Victor on a couple of occasions. He was a talented performer, supportive friend & with other remarkable skills, as noted.
My heart-felt condolences to his family & friends.

I'm going to attach a photo of Victor from a 1996 production of Pirates of Penzance
Alan Rohwer
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences