Obituaries | September 1, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 35 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 35 | p. 69 | Obituaries
Issue Date: September 1, 2008


Department: ACS News

Neil Bartlett, 75, a renowned professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, died unexpectedly on Aug. 5, in Walnut Creek, Calif., from an aortic aneurysm.

Bartlett is best known for designing an experiment that demonstrated the first reaction of a noble gas in 1962 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. “He will forever be recognized as a genius by the scientific community for the logical and imaginative procedure he used in that preparation,” says William Jolly, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of chemistry.

Bartlett earned a B.S. in 1954 and a doctorate in inorganic chemistry in 1958, both from King’s College at the University of Durham in his hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.

In 1958, Bartlett was appointed a lecturer in chemistry at the University of British Columbia, where he remained until 1966, eventually becoming full professor. He then spent three years at Princeton University before joining the chemistry faculty at UC Berkeley in 1969. Bartlett retired in 1993 but continued to work as a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory until 1999.

In addition to his research with noble gases, Bartlett’s studies included the general field of fluorine chemistry, with a special interest in the stabilization of unusually high oxidation states of various elements.

Bartlett won numerous awards, including the Welch Award in Chemistry and the Davy Medal of the Royal Society of London, to which he was elected a fellow. In 2006, the American Chemical Society and the Canadian Society of Chemistry designated a new International Historical Landmark at the University of British Columbia to honor Bartlett’s work. Bartlett was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1963.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Christina; three sons, Jeremy, Christopher, and Robin; a daughter, Jane Piggott; and five grandchildren.


Jay K. Kochi, 81, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry at the University of Houston, died at his home in Houston on Aug. 9, after a brief illness.

Born in Los Angeles, Kochi earned a B.S. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949 and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in 1952.

He then accepted an instructorship at Harvard University and a National Institutes of Health Special Fellowship at Cambridge University before going to work for Shell Development in Emeryville, Calif.

In 1962, Kochi accepted a position at what was then Case University, where he became full professor in 1966. He moved to Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1969 and was named its Earl Blough Professor of Chemistry in 1974. Kochi joined the University of Houston in 1984 as the Robert A. Welch Professor, maintaining an active research lab there until his death.

In his research, Kochi focused primarily on the organic reactions catalyzed by metal complexes, on electrochemistry, and on the photochemistry of organometallic compounds.

Kochi was author or coauthor of more than 570 scientific articles and authored the book “Organometallic Mechanisms and Catalysis: The Role of Reactive Intermediates in Organic Processes.” During his career, Kochi served on the editorial boards of eight scientific journals (including Accounts of Chemical Research, Inorganic Chemistry, and Organometallics).

He won awards for his work, including the Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award and ACS’s Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award and James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry. In 1982, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1949.

Kochi is survived by his wife of 49 years, Marion; three children; and four grandchildren.


Ronald L. (Ron) Magolda, 54, vice president for medicinal chemistry at Wyeth Research, died unexpectedly on June 1.

Born in Vineland, N.J., Magolda earned a B.S. in chemistry from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 under K. C. Nicolaou.

He then began an 18-year stint in DuPont’s pharmaceutical division in Wilmington, Del., advancing to the post of director of anti-inflammatory disease research. From 1999 until 2003, Magolda worked for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Danbury, Conn., as director and head of discovery chemistry.

For the past five years, Magolda had been vice president of medicinal chemistry at Wyeth Research sites in Princeton, N.J., and Collegeville, Pa. While at Wyeth, he made a lasting impact on the areas of neuroscience, women’s health and musculoskeletal biology, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. He contributed to numerous compounds that are in various phases of development. “We are deeply saddened over the sudden departure of Ron; it is a grave loss for Wyeth and the chemistry community,” says Magid Abou-Gharbia, senior vice president at Wyeth Research.

Throughout this career, Magolda coauthored many scientific publications and held more than 50 patents. He was a member of ACS, joining in 1979.


Magolda is survived by his wife of 19 years, Diane; a brother; a sister; and six nieces and nephews.

Nicholas J. Malueg, 86, an Environmental Protection Agency chemist, died on March 23 in Vancouver, Wash.

Born in Hastings, Minn., Malueg served in the Army in Europe during World War II, receiving a Bronze Star.

After the war, Malueg earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Portland, in Oregon, in 1949.

He worked as a chemist for Blitz-Weinhard Brewing for 18 years before going to work for the local public health agency in Portland that would later become part of EPA. He retired in 1988.

Malueg was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1963.

He is survived by his wife, Ardis; a daughter, Cheryl; and two grandchildren.


Obituaries are written by Susan J. Ainsworth. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.

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