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Lawrence (Larry) Altman

by Susan J. Ainsworth
October 8, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 41

Lawrence (Larry) Altman, 70, an organic chemist, died on June 20 after a long battle with metastatic prostate cancer.

Born in Chicago, Altman earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from California Institute of Technology in 1962 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University in 1965. He then returned to Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow.

Altman began his career in academia, first at Stanford University, where he remained from 1966 until 1972, and later at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, where he stayed until 1980.

Subsequently, he worked as a research chemist at the Mobil Oil Technology Center in Paulsborough, N.J. He retired to Sarasota, Fla., in 2000. Altman was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1962.

He was a volunteer for the Sarasota Democratic Party, was an elections precinct clerk, and served on several county advisory boards. He was a docent and adviser at the Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone science museum and also founded and led a 150-member science discussion group, Scientists & Engineers Expanding Knowledge, for 10 years. An environmentalist, Altman was a lifetime member of the Sierra Club. He was also an avid golfer.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lois; son, Jason; daughter, Rachel; and three grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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