Merle A. Battiste, 76, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, died unexpectedly at his home in Gainesville, Fla., on Aug. 8, 2009.
Battiste received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the Citadel, an M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University in 1959. He was Ronald Breslow’s first Ph.D. student.
After conducting postdoctoral research with Saul Winstein at the University of California, Los Angeles, and after a short stint in the Army, he joined the faculty at the University of Florida where he remained as a professor of organic chemistry for 42 years, until retiring in 2004.
Battiste’s research focused on the synthesis of novel molecular structures. He is credited with more than 100 publications and was known as a dedicated, passionate teacher. Battiste was a Sloan Fellow, a Fulbright Research Scholar, and an Erskine Fellow. He was also an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1959.
Battiste is survived by his wife, Jan; his sons, Mark and John; his stepdaughters, Tanya, Paula, and Tracey; and six grandchildren.