Frank Read is distinguished for his experimental studies of electron collisions with atoms and molecules, for associated work in instrument design, and for theoretical work on the interpretation of the experimental results. He made major advances in the study of threshold effects in electron collisions, and of post-collision interactions in the near-threshold excitation of resonance states.
His studies of the influence of molecular rotation and vibration on the angular distribution of scattered electrons enabled him to deduce the electronic configurations of short-lived molecular negative ion states. He also used the technique of delayed coincidences between electrons and photons for the precision measurements of lifetimes for atomic and molecular states.
Frank founded a vigorous and independent research school, and by his combination of physical insight and experimental skill made a unique contribution to his field. Since retiring from active experimental atomic physics, he has continued in the field of instrumentation by developing a uniquely accurate computer program for charged particle optics.
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Manchester