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by Victoria Gilman
July 5, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 27

Henry G. Kuivila, professor emeritus of chemistry at the State University of New York, Albany, died in March at the age of 86.

Kuivila earned bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry at Ohio State University, and then completed a Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1948. After graduation, he joined the faculty at the University of New Hampshire, eventually becoming a full professor. The widely used tin hydride reduction method in organic synthesis evolved from pioneering work Kuivila contributed to while at New Hampshire.

In 1964, Kuivila left New Hampshire to become the first chairman of the chemistry department at SUNY Albany's relocated campus, a position he held for five years. He became an emeritus professor in 1988. He spent a sabbatical year at California Institute of Technology in 1959 as a Guggenheim Fellow and National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellow.

Kuivila is survived by his wife, Nancy; three children; and several grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1946; emeritus member.


Ralph Landau, cofounder of Scientific Design Co., died on April 6 at the age of 87.

Landau earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1937 and a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941, both in chemical engineering. Later in his career, he was awarded several honorary degrees.

After graduation, Landau joined M.W. Kellogg Co. as a process development engineer. In 1943, he was asked to transfer to the firm's subsidiary Kellex Corp., where he served as head of the chemical department for two years. He moved briefly back to Kellogg before leaving to cofound Scientific Design. Landau served as executive vice president from 1946 to 1963. The firm's major developments include a process for manufacturing ethylene glycol--the chief component of antifreeze--by thermal hydration.

As Scientific Design expanded, the firm created three holding companies: Halcon International, Catalytic Development Corp., and SD Plants. Landau served as president of Halcon from 1963 to 1975 and as chairman and CEO from 1975 to 1981.

From 1977 to 1987, Landau served on the board of directors of the Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa), and in 1983 he took a position as a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and as a consulting professor of economics at Stanford University.

Among his many honors, Landau was awarded the first Othmer Gold Medal of the Chemical Heritage Foundation in 1997, the Perkin Medal in 1981, and the National Medal of Technology in 1985. He was a life member emeritus of MIT Corp., a trustee emeritus of U Penn, and former vice president of the National Academy of Engineering.

Landau is survived by his wife, Claire, and a daughter. Joined ACS in 1937; emeritus member.


Brian J. Melody, research and development manager at KEMET Electronics in Simpsonville, S.C., died of metastatic colon cancer on March 17 at the age of 51.

A native of Cook County, Ill., Melody graduated from the University of Tennessee, Martin, in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. After graduation, he held positions at Mallory Sonalert Products, in Indiana, and Hilton Electronics, in Missouri, before joining KEMET.

During his career, Melody became known throughout the electrolytic capacitor industry as a major contributor to the advancement of electrolyte chemistry, dielectric science, and overall capacitor technology. He held more than 40 patents and was a regular contributor to the annual Capacitor & Resistor Technology Symposium (CARTS). The 2004 CARTS gathering was dedicated in his honor.

Melody is survived by his wife, Anita; two daughters; his mother; three sisters; and five brothers. Joined ACS in 1990.


Albert L. Myerson, a physical chemist retired from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., died on March 31 at the age of 85.

Born in New York City and raised in Atlantic City, N.J., Myerson received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Myerson contributed to a variety of projects throughout his career, including the Manhattan Project during World War II, intercontinental ballistic missile research with General Electric and Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory during the Cold War, air pollution research at Exxon Chemical in the 1970s, and red tide research at Mote Marine in the 1980s.

One of Myerson's papers written during the Manhattan Project regarding the separation of uranium hexafluoride into 235UF and 239UF was a major contribution to ultimately obtaining the explosive form of UF6 used in the atomic bomb. In recognition of work done throughout his career, Myerson was awarded the 1941 Evan Pugh Medal by Penn State and was made a Carnegie Scholar in 1938.

Myerson was an accomplished classical violinist who performed in community orchestras in New York, New Jersey, and Florida. His life's passions included antique collecting, gardening, and poetry.

Myerson is survived by his wife, Arline; two daughters; a son; and three grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1943; emeritus member.


George H. Wagner, a former research chemist with Union Carbide Corp., died on March 12 at the age of 89.

A native of Mulberry, Ark., Wagner received a two-year degree from Arkansas Tech University in 1935, then earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Arkansas in 1937. He earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1939 from the University of Iowa.

In 1941, Wagner joined Union Carbide's Linde Division in Tonawanda, N.Y. During his 30-year career with the firm, he made several important contributions to organosilicon chemistry, including development of the basic chemistry for manufacturing electronic-grade silicon metal using trichlorosilane as an intermediate.

Wagner later moved from the lab into management roles. He became manager of research at the Linde unit in 1957, where he encouraged his team to develop a more efficient manufacturing process for stainless steel, known as arson-oxygen decarburization (AOD). The process was licensed to firms around the world and eventually supplied about 80% of the global demand for stainless steel.

Wagner retired from industry in 1971 and decided to continue his education, receiving a master's degree in geology from the University of Arkansas in 1974. He then joined the university as an adjunct professor of geology, a position he held for 25 years.

Wagner was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth. He is survived by two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Joined ACS in 1941; emeritus member.

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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