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Frank P. Buff

by Susan J. Ainsworth
September 21, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 38

Frank P. Buff, 85, an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Rochester, died of congestive heart failure on July 1 in Rochester, N.Y.

Born in Munich, Germany, Buff received a B.A. in chemistry and physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1944. Buff was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. He then worked as a chemist at Shell Development before earning a doctorate in chemistry at California Institute of Technology in 1949 under John G. Kirkwood. Buff remained at Caltech for a postdoctoral research fellowship awarded by the Atomic Energy Commission.H

e joined the faculty at the University of Rochester in 1950 and became a full professor in 1960. He retired in 1994. Buff’s research focused on mechanical theories of liquids, solutions, and interfaces as well as light scattering, kinetics of nucleation, physics of thin films, capillarity, and electrochemistry.

Buff published more than 60 papers in the fields of physical chemistry and physics. He was a National Science Foundation senior fellow from 1959 to 1960; a visiting professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, from 1959 to 1960; and a consultant to Mobil Oil from 1961 to 1970. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Statistical Physics from 1970 to 1975.

He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining the society in 1949. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and the American Institute of Chemists. Buff was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Iva; two daughters; and three grandchildren.

Susan J. Ainsworth writes obituaries. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.



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