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by Victoria Gilman
January 5, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 1

Herbert Beall, professor of chemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, died of cancer on Aug. 31, 2003, at his home in Rockport, Mass. He was 64.

Beall was born in Chatham, Ontario, and immigrated to Appleton, Wis. His undergraduate degree in chemistry was from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and he received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1967 from Harvard University where he was a graduate student of William Nunn Lipscomb Jr.'s.

Beall worked at Olin Mathieson Chemical as a senior research chemist prior to joining the faculty in the chemistry department at Worcester in 1968. He published more than 70 articles in areas of chemistry that include boron chemistry, chemical education, the use of language in chemistry, and gold and coal chemistry. Beall was the author or coauthor of several textbooks, including "Chemistry for Engineers and Scientists" and "A Guide to Writing about Chemistry." With his wife, he also published a book, "Images of America: Mineral Point," recounting the history in text and early photos of the historic Wisconsin mining town outside of Madison where they had a summer home for a decade.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Apelian Beall; three daughters; six grandchildren; and his brother and sister. Joined ACS in 1965.


Anton B. Burg, distinguished emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Southern California, died on Nov. 18, 2003, at the age of 99. A leading expert in the study of boron compounds, Burg is credited as being the "father of chemistry at USC."

He came to the university as an assistant professor in 1939, joining what was then a department not known for its research program. Within a year, he was promoted to chairman and used his position to turn the department into a major research department by hiring top faculty and acquiring research funding.

Burg's real passion, however, was studying boron compounds, a field in which he was a pioneer and a leader. He synthesized many boron compounds that eventually found wide use in organic chemistry as tools for creating more complex molecules. Among his many graduate students was Herbert C. Brown, who went on to win the Nobel Prize. Burg remained active in research long after he had officially retired and maintained a productive lab until he was in his nineties.

A bicyclist who never drove a car, Burg was both a scholar and a nationally ranked track star as a student at the University of Chicago. His 90th birthday celebration was a festive occasion for colleagues and former students to celebrate his life in science. As always, he entertained his audience by reading some of his limericks, which were gathered by his colleagues in book format. Joined ACS in 1930; emeritus member.


James Cason, emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, died Nov. 3, 2003, after a short illness. He was 91.

For almost four decades, Cason taught organic chemistry at UC Berkeley, where he served as dean of the College of Chemistry from 1955 to 1956. He authored four college textbooks on organic chemistry and published more than 100 articles in major scientific journals.

Cason was born in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He earned an A.B. from Vanderbilt University in 1934 and went on to receive an M.S. in organic chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1935 and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from Yale University in 1938.

Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he worked with the National Defense Research Committee under the direction of Louis Fieser during World War II. Cason taught at DePauw University from 1940 to 1941 and at Vanderbilt from 1941 to 1945 before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley later in 1945.

Cason retired from UC Berkeley in 1983. During the past 20 years, he and his wife split their time between their home in the Berkeley Hills and their old-growth redwood property, which they named "Camelot," near Garberville, Calif. For a number of years, the Casons operated a profitable 75-acre almond orchard in California's Central Valley.

Cason is survived by his wife of 68 years, Rebecca Marsden Cason; two sons; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Joined ACS in 1936; emeritus member.


Charles W. J. Scaife, emeritus professor of chemistry at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., died of cancer Aug. 24, 2003, at his home in Schenectady at the age of 65.

Scaife decided to use a sabbatical from Union in 1994 to do demonstrations in grade- or middle-school science classes by day and hold evening science workshops for parents and children. Starting in the Northeast in 1994, Scaife and his wife, Priscilla, later expanded their travels to include the entire country.

Scaife said his campaign was spurred by the conviction that children take to science when they are able to work with their hands and experience a sense of surprise.

Scaife received a B.A. in chemistry from Cornell University in 1959 and a Ph.D. from Cornell in inorganic chemistry in 1965. He was a commissioned officer in the Navy from 1959 to 1961 and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of York, in England, in 1967. He taught at Middlebury College before joining the faculty at Union in 1972 and became an emeritus professor at Union in 2001.

Surviving are his wife, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1960.


William Spindel, 81, a nuclear chemist who participated in the World War II Manhattan Project sited in Los Alamos to build an atomic bomb, died of a heart attack on Dec. 18, 2003.

He was born in New York City and earned a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. Spindel's work at Los Alamos in the Army's Special Engineering Detachment focused on isotope separations.

Upon leaving the Manhattan Project in 1945, Spindel entered a career in academic research and teaching that included professorships at Columbia; Rutgers University; the State University of New York, Albany; and Yeshiva University. In 1974, he joined the National Research Council in Washington, D.C., as director of its Office of Chemical Science & Technology, where, among many efforts, he coordinated the examination of the frontiers of the chemistry that led in turn to major new directions in chemical research.

Spindel's research interests included the separation of stable isotopes and isotope effects in chemical and biological processes. His work developed new and more efficient processes for the enrichment of the rarer isotopes of the lighter elements, such as N-15. He developed, with T. I. Taylor, a chemical exchange process for the separation of N-15 used for commercial production of this isotope worldwide.

Survivors include his wife, Louise; two children; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1946; emeritus member.

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