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People - Obituaries

by Victoria Gilman
June 7, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 23

Kwasi S. Avor, a senior research scientist with TransTech Pharma Inc., died on Jan. 8 following a stroke. He was 51.

Born in Ghana, Avor earned a B.S. in chemistry from that nation's University of Cape Coast in 1978. After graduation, he moved to Liberia where he began his professional career as a high school chemistry and mathematics teacher. He moved to the U.S. in 1985, earning an M.S. in medicinal chemistry at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy in 1989.

Avor worked as a metabolism chemist at ABC Laboratories from 1989 to 1992, then as a synthetic chemist at FMC Corp. from 1993 to 1994. During this time, he worked on a variety of projects, including the synthesis of many novel cyclopropyl anti-breast cancer agents, nicotinic acetylcholine agonists as antinociceptive agents, cocaine analogs as potent dopamine and norepinephrine transporter perturbing agents, and a photoaffinity analog of the antileukemia agent etoposide.

In 1997, Avor went back to Oklahoma's College of Pharmacy to complete his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry. After graduation, he did postdoctoral studies for one year at Oklahoma, then for two years at the University of Pittsburgh.

Avor moved to North Carolina to join TransTech in 2000, where he was initially involved in preparing large libraries of molecules for drug discovery by combinatorial chemistry. He later worked on lead optimization for promising drug candidates for Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.

Avor was an avid fisherman and soccer player. He is survived by his wife, Dekky, and their two children. Joined ACS in 1996.


Suprabhat Chatterjee, an organic chemist and former director of the U.S. Government Customs Labs, died on Jan. 16 at the age of 79.

Born in Calcutta, Chatterjee received his doctorate degree from the University of Calcutta in 1955, where his research involved polycyclic ring systems. He came to the U.S. as a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Chatterjee then moved to Boston to work for the Jimmy Fund in a research program that involved synthesizing novel antineoplastic agents.

In 1964, Chatterjee joined the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory in Bedford, Mass. From there he moved to the Natick Laboratories (now the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center), in Mass., working on the chemical properties of collagen. He joined the U.S. Customs Laboratory in Boston in 1978. When that facility closed in 1981, he moved to the Chicago office, where he worked until 1995.

After leaving government service, Chatterjee moved back to Massachusetts, where he served as an adjunct faculty member in the department of chemistry at Framingham State College. He rejoined the collagen research project at the Natick Labs on a part-time basis.

In his personal life, Chatterjee was very active in the Ramkrishna Vedanta Society in Chicago and the Indian Association of Greater Boston. His interests included reading; cooking; gardening; camping; dancing; and supporting Boston sports, especially the Celtics.

Chatterjee is survived by his wife, Bani; two sons; and three grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1959; emeritus member.


Sherman H. Hubbard, a chemist retired from Tennessee Eastman Co. (now Eastman Chemical), died on Feb. 13 at the age of 82.

A native of Thomasville, N.C., Hubbard earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1942. Following graduation, he began work at Holston Ordnance Works in Kingsport, Tenn.

After the end of World War II, Hubbard was transferred to Tennessee Eastman's acetate yarn division. His career at Eastman was largely in quality management, culminating with his appointment in 1981 as coordinator for quality management of all manufacturing processes at the Kingsport plant. He retired in 1986 after 44 years of service.

Hubbard joined the American Society for Quality in 1959 and was a member for more than 40 years. In 1987, ASQ honored him with its Golden Quill Award as a contributing author of its manual "Quality Assurance for the Chemical and Process Industries."

Hubbard is survived by his wife, Frances; a son; four daughters; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Joined ACS in 1946; emeritus member.



Ian P. Rothwell, professor and head of the chemistry department at Purdue University, died on May 9 in an automobile accident at the age of 49.

Born in Manchester, England, Rothwell received his bachelor's degree in chemistry with first-class honors in 1976 and his doctorate in chemistry in 1979 from University College London.

From 1979 to 1981, Rothwell was a postdoctoral fellow and visiting assistant professor at Indiana University. He then joined Purdue University in 1981 as an assistant professor, reaching full professor in 1989. He was the inorganic division head at Purdue from 1998 to 2001, and the chemistry department head from 2001 until the time of his death.

Rothwell was a world authority in the areas of transition-metal inorganic and organometallic chemistry. He focused much of his attention on early transition metals such as titanium, zirconium, halfnium, and molybdenum, often complementing the metals with aryloxide ligands.

Some of Rothwell's major research contributions include the use of aryloxide ligands in conjunction with high-valent, early transition metals for activating normally inert CH bonds; the development of new systems for orchestrating selective carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions; and the discovery of new schemes for carrying out homogeneous, catalytic arene hydrogenation in a patented, highly regio- and stereoselective fashion. In recent years, he had begun working on polymerization processes and developing new hydrides.

Rothwell received numerous honors for his work, including the 1984 Meldola Medal & Prize given by the Royal Society of Chemistry, in London. From 1985 to 1990, he was a Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, and from 1986 to 1988, he was a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In 1987, he was the 23rd recipient of the Fresenius Award given by Phi Lambda Upsilon. In 1990, he was awarded the Corday-Morgan Medal & Prize given by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in 2001 was named the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Scholar.

Rothwell was a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and served as an associate editor for Chemical Communications since 2001. For ACS, he was a member of the inorganic division and organometallic subdivision, the latter of which he chaired in 2003. He was also a member of the editorial board of Organometallics from 1994 to 1997.

Rothwell is survived by his wife, Arlene; a son; and a daughter. Joined ACS in 1980.

Obituaries are written by Victoria Gilman. Obituary notices may be sent by e-mail to and should include detailed educational and professional history.


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