Melvin J. Goldstein | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 41 | p. 55 | Obituaries
Issue Date: October 8, 2012

Melvin J. Goldstein

Department: ACS News
Keywords: obituaries

Melvin J. Goldstein, 78, a former Cornell University professor of chemistry, died on May 13 in Beer Sheva, Israel, after a protracted illness.

Born in New York City, Goldstein received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Yale University under William von Eggers Doering. He conducted postdoctoral work at Harvard University before joining the Cornell faculty in 1959, where he advanced to the rank of professor.

A physical organic chemist, Goldstein was deeply interested in the mechanisms of organic reactions. He had a keen understanding of inter- and intramolecular kinetic isotope effects, becoming the first to measure some of these informative guideposts to organic reaction mechanisms. He also studied complicated kinetic schemes.

A lifelong Zionist, Goldstein left Cornell for Israel in 1984. He then joined the Dead Sea Bromine Group in Beer Sheva, where he continued to work until his retirement. He was a member of ACS from 1950 until 1999.

Remembered for his boundless energy and positive attitude, Goldstein loved camping and hiking.

Goldstein’s first wife, Muriel, predeceased him. He is survived by his second wife, Fira; three children; and five 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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