Issue Date: May 20, 2013
Milton Orchin, 98, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, died on Feb. 14.
Born in the small town of Barnesboro, Pa., Orchin spent his childhood and adolescence in the Jewish Orphan Home in Cleveland. He attended Ohio State University, earning a B.S. in chemistry in 1936, an M.S. in chemistry in 1937, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1939, under the supervision of Melvin S. Newman.
Orchin then went to work for the federal government, first with the Food & Drug Administration in both Cincinnati and Chicago; then with the Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Md.; and, finally, with the Bureau of Mines, in Bruceton, Pa.
Shifting into academia, Orchin joined the University of Cincinnati as a faculty member in its Applied Science Research Laboratory in 1953. Shortly thereafter, he attained the rank of professor in the chemistry department, serving as its chair from 1956 until 1962. Before retiring in 1981, he published seven books, 15 reviews, and 198 research papers.
During the next 25 years, as professor emeritus and director of the university’s Hoke S. Greene Laboratory of Catalysis, Orchin published 47 research papers in collaboration with postdoctoral fellows. He also took on industrial consulting work in the field of organometallic catalysis, which resulted in more than 20 patents.
After finally closing his laboratory in 2006 at age 92, Orchin coauthored a biography of Israeli chemist Ernst David Bergmann in collaboration with University of Cincinnati colleagues William B. Jensen and Henry Fenichel. The book was published in 2011. Orchin was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1940.
Orchin’s wife, Ruth, predeceased him. He is survived by his sons, Michael and Morton; foster son, Brian Hersch; and four grandchildren.
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