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Walter Lwowski

by Susan J. Ainsworth
July 19, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 29

Lwowski
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Walter Lwowski, 81, an emeritus research professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University (NMSU), died of pulmonary fibrosis on April 19.

Born in the Bavarian Alps in Garmish, Germany, Lwowski received a doctorate in organic chemistry from Heidelberg University in 1955. He then immigrated to the U.S. and conducted postdoctoral work with Donald Cram at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1955 to 1957. Then, from 1957 to 1960, he worked with R. B. Woodward at Harvard University on the total synthesis of chlorophyll, research for which Woodward would receive the Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1965.

Lwowski joined the faculty of Yale University’s department of chemistry in 1960. Six years later, he joined NMSU, where he helped develop its graduate program in organic chemistry.

Obtaining grants to support his research, he generated numerous research papers that focused mostly on nitrene chemistry and nitrogen heterocyclic chemistry. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1956.

After retiring in 1991, Lwowski retained an office and laboratory in the university’s chemistry department, helped maintain the department’s research instrumentation, and built chemistry demonstration equipment for undergraduate instruction.

Lwowski bequeathed a major portion of his estate to NMSU to create an endowment for the repair, maintenance, and purchase of chemical and biochemical research instrumentation for the university’s chemistry department.

He is survived by a brother, Hans, and three nieces, Ulrike McConnell, Annette Beazell, and Christine Rose.

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