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Rudolph A. (Rudy) Abramovitch

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 14

Rudolph A. (Rudy) Abramovitch.

Rudolph A. (Rudy) Abramovitch, 83, professor of chemistry emeritus at Clemson University, died on Nov. 26, 2013, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Abramovitch attended Farouk University (now Alexandria University) before earning a B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of London in 1950. He completed a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1953 at King’s College London and a D.Sc. in organic chemistry at the University of London in 1964.

After a brief stint at the Weizmann Institute, in Israel, he accepted an appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan. While quickly rising through the ranks to become a full professor, he served as the chairman of the Organic Division of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

In the late 1960s, he moved to the University of Alabama, where he served as a research professor, before becoming head of the department of chemistry and geology at Clemson in 1977. He retired in 2006.

Credited with authoring or coauthoring more than 300 papers and books, Abramovitch conducted cutting-edge research involving the reaction mechanisms of nitrenes and azides, substitution reactions of pyridine rings, nitrenium and oxenium ion chemistry, and microwave remediation.

He served on the editorial boards of two journals, Heterocycles and Organic Preparations & Procedures International, and the book series “Advances in Heterocyclic Chemistry.” He also edited the series “Reactive Intermediates.”

Abramovitch was a Fulbright Fellow in France in 1983. A commemorative issue of the Archive for Organic Chemistry was published in honor of his 70th birthday in 2001. And Clemson presented him with its Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Research in 1981 and its Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research in 2006.

Abramovitch was a member of ACS from 1959 until 2004.

He enjoyed traveling, fishing, playing soccer in his youth, and playing tennis during his later years.

Abramovitch is survived by his wife, Dorota; son, Daniel; daughters, Paula Porter and Anna Holbrook; and six grandsons.

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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