George L. Zimmerman, 89, emeritus professor of chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, died of complications from a stroke at his home in Bryn Mawr, Pa., on Oct. 21, 2009.
Born in Hershey, Pa., Zimmerman graduated from Swarthmore College in 1941. While attending graduate school at Harvard University during World War II, he was recruited for the Manhattan Project at Columbia University to help develop a method for enriching and purifying uranium isotopes for the atom bomb. After the war, Zimmerman completed a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1948 under Nobel Laureate James Franck.
Zimmerman then taught physical chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for two years before joining the Bryn Mawr faculty in 1950. He was a Guggenheim Fellow from 1965 to 1966 at Oxford University and University College London. In his research, he applied spectroscopic methods to study mechanisms of photochemical isomerization of dyes.
After retiring in 1990, Zimmerman was a visiting professor at Drexel University for many years, collaborating on excited-state studies of ruthenium oxide molecules. He was a retired ACS member who joined the society in 1953.
He shared his love of both classical and jazz clarinet with friends and students, and he introduced Morris dancing, a form of pre-Christian English folk dancing, to Bryn Mawr College. He also sang in the Church of the Redeemer choir.
Zimmerman is survived by his wife of 51 years, Un-Jin Paik; his sons, Landis and David; his daughters, Louise Hoehl and Emily; and three grandchildren.