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James E. Boggs

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 9, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 49

James E. Boggs, a professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Texas, Austin, died on June 2, one week before his 92nd birthday.

Born in East Cleveland, Boggs received a B.A. in chemistry from Oberlin College in 1943. During World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project, developing techniques for uranium isotope separation. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1953.

That same year, Boggs joined the chemistry department at UT Austin. He is credited with more than 400 scientific publications in the field of molecular structure and dynamics.

Boggs enjoyed teaching freshman chemistry, and he developed and taught a course on science in society. Later in his career, he worked extensively with the university’s overseas study program. After retiring while in his 70s, he continued conducting research and publishing his work.

Boggs was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1943. He was named an ACS Fellow in 2010.

He received the 2010 International Dr. Barbara Mez-Starck Prize for his outstanding contributions to experimental structural chemistry and molecular physics.

In 1998, he and his wife established the James E. & Ruth Ann Boggs Endowment Fund, which has benefited UT Austin’s Mallet Chemistry Library.

He enjoyed traveling in the U.S. and overseas, and he was an avid reader.

Preceded in death by his wife, whom he married in 1948, Boggs is survived by his daughters, Carol, Ann McCarley, and Lynne Cariker, and two 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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