In Memoriam of Chemists and Friends | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 2 | p. 6 | Letters
Issue Date: January 14, 2008

In Memoriam of Chemists and Friends

Department: Letters

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In 2007, two superb thermodynamicists and educators died: emeritus professors of chemistry Scott E. Wood and Laurence B. Strong. They were colleagues, friends, and mentors.

I spent nine years working in close collaboration with Wood at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was always ready and willing to answer my questions on thermodynamics, generally starting with, "Well, let's begin with the First Law." Then, he would derive his way through to whatever was needed. He told me many times that one did not need to memorize equations, just to know the basic definitions and apply them rigorously. We coauthored two books, "Thermodynamics: An Introduction" (Academic Press, 1968) and "Thermodynamics of Chemical Systems" (Cambridge University Press, 1990). The latter was Wood's magnum opus, and I edited the book and facilitated getting it published. Over the years we wrote a number of papers together on the teaching of thermodynamics.

After I moved to Wright State University I got to know Strong quite well because he was then at nearby Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. We shared enthusiasms about teaching and about the thermodynamics of solutions. Both he and Wood were remarkably patient teachers.

I am particularly proud of the fact that the three of us did publish one paper together (J. Chem. Ed. 1997, 74, 304). They are missed.

Rubin Battino
Yellow Springs, Ohio

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