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B. Peter Block

by Susan J. Ainsworth
November 29, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 48

B . Peter Block, 86, a retired Pennwalt Chemical chemist who was an expert in inorganic polymers and coordination chemistry, died of pancreatic cancer on July 1.

Born in Saginaw, Mich., Block earned a bachelor’s at Harvard University, a master’s in chemistry at the University of Tennessee, and a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Illinois.

He taught chemistry at the University of Chicago and at Pennsylvania State University before working for Pennwalt from 1957 until he retired in 1985.

Block received ACS’s Philadelphia Section Award in 1968. He was a member of an international panel of the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association (now the American Chemistry Council) that investigated the impact of chlorofluorocarbons on the ozone layer. He coauthored the book “Inorganic Chemical Nomenclature: Principles and Practice,” which was published in 1990.

He was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1946. He also was a member of Sigma Xi, Alpha Chi Sigma, Phi Lambda Upsilon, and Phi Kappa Phi.

Block was an elder of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Johnson City, Tenn. He was also an avid bowler and bridge player and was a lifetime member of the American Cryptogram Association.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Viola; a daughter, Carolyn; a son, Frederick; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


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