Professor Detchko Pavlov, the Bulgarian academician who dedicated practically his whole life to research and development of lead-acid batteries, died last Friday. He was 86. Pavlov’s almost legendary 65-year-long career in battery research began in 1953.
A graduate of the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Sofia, for the next seven years he worked as assistant to the Chair of Physical Chemistry of the same university with Prof. St. Hristov.
But the path that shaped Pavlov and the modern lead-acid battery really began in 1967, when he became a co-founder of the Central Laboratory of Electrochemical Power Sources (CLEPS, of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences— the leading national R&D institute for battery science and technology. CLEPS was headed by Prof. Evgeni Budevski, but it was Pavlov who organised and managed the lead-acid battery department— the biggest and most actively contributing part of the institute.
Between 1967 and 1993, Pavlov blossomed from a research fellow through to senior researcher, professor in electrochemistry and deputy-director of CLEPS. In 1984, he obtained his DSc degree in electrochemistry from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 1989, he was elected as a corresponding member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (the governing body of the Academy) and, in 1997, became a full member of the Academy.
Pavlov’s contribution to scientific literature was formidable: 250 articles published in international journals, 33 patents in Bulgaria and abroad, six monographs. His last work D. Pavlov, Lead-Acid Batteries, Science and Technology, Second Edition: A handbook of lead-acid battery technology Elsevier B.V., 2017, appeared just a couple of months ago.
Boris Monahov, one of his favoured pupils, said: “Prof. Pavlov reviewed, summarised and melted into a couple of simple and easy to understand exciting stories the knowledge and ideas developed by him, his colleagues and over 300 battery experts in the last 50 years— thousands and thousands of pages published, presented and reported worldwide. He tried not only to inform his readers but also help them use his knowledge in understanding and designing better batteries.”
Pavlov’s knowledge and expertise travelled well beyond Bulgaria. He prepared lecture courses on ‘Processes that occur during battery manufacture’ and ‘Essentials of Lead-Acid Batteries’ presented in more than 20 countries— not forgetting his own special lead battery conference in Bulgaria, Labat, which he chaired 10 times over the last 30 years.
He was a member of the editorial boards of five international journals published in Switzerland, India, Russia and Bulgaria.
Between 1976 and 2016 he was awarded four of the highest national awards as well as the highest awards of The Electrochemical Society, the International Cultural Diploma of Honor of ABIRA and NAATBAT in the US, the International Lead Award of the International Lead Association (ILA), and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences’ Gaston Planté Medal.
Dr. Pat Moseley, a former manager of the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, said: “Detchko was a great man who led his strong team in the scientific study of lead–acid batteries without the financial advantages of his contemporaries in other parts of the world. He was a true gentleman and a dedicated scientist. The work and the spirit of Detchko will stay alive after his unprecedented scientific career through his papers.”