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C. Roland Eddy

by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 27, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 21

C. Roland Eddy, 98, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture research chemist, died on Feb. 12.

Born in Providence, Eddy received a B.S. in chemistry in 1935 from Brown University and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1938 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he remained to teach physical chemistry for three years.

He then joined USDA’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. Eddy worked there until he retired in 1972. Early in his career, he equipped, organized, and operated the facility’s first infrared spectroscopy lab. He also developed an IR method that rapidly screens plant extracts for steroidal sapogenins, speeding the search for a raw material that could be converted into cortisone.

Later, Eddy developed and managed the first computer center for USDA, and in the late 1960s, he published a series of papers on the uses of computers in theoretical analytical chemistry.

Concurrent with his full-time research, Eddy taught part-time at Temple University between 1948 and 1965. After he retired from USDA, he taught physics and interdisciplinary sciences for 14 years at Beaver College (now Arcadia University), where he received a distinguished teaching award.

Eddy was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1939.

He loved to compose and play music for the piano and organ. An avid writer, when he was 89, he published a book on the philosophy of science, “Oceans of the Mind: Computer Science and Theory of Knowledge.”

His first wife, Margaret, died in 1971, and his second wife, Helen, died in 2011. He is survived by four children, Elizabeth Myers, Virginia Talley, William, and Charles; two stepchildren; and 12 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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