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William O. J. Boo

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 4, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 9

William O. J. Boo, 78, a chemistry professor emeritus at the University of Mississippi, died on Sept. 7, 2011, in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Boo earned a B.S. in 1958 and an M.S. in 1963, both in chemistry, from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1966 from the University of Chicago. He then conducted postdoctoral research at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Boo joined the University of Mississippi as an assistant professor in 1967. In his research, he investigated the solid-state chemistry of divalent and mixed-valence fluorides of first-row transition metals and rare-earth oxides. He published more than 30 articles.

A dedicated educator, Boo had a longtime interest in symmetry and tried to broaden its appeal by publishing several pedagogical articles on the topic. His enthusiasm led him to take his “Boo Blocks” of Velcro-edged polygons into the local elementary schools to teach children how to build complex polyhedra and discover symmetry concepts. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1966.

Boo retired in 1992 to pursue his golf game, but he was still writing journal articles at the time of his death.

His wife, Matilde, survives him.

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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