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Donald C. Dittmer

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 14, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 15

Donald C. Dittmer, 86, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Syracuse University, died on Nov. 26, 2013.

Born in Quincy, Ill., Dittmer served in the Army Medical Corps before earning a B.S. in chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1950 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953.

He conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1961.

After serving a one-year fellowship appointment at DuPont, Dittmer joined the chemistry faculty at Syracuse in 1962. He is credited with more than 100 scientific articles, many pertaining to the chemistry of sulfur, selenium, and tellurium. The Dittmer group prepared small-ring sulfur and selenium compounds and developed groundbreaking methodologies that use tellurium reagents to initiate and control chemical reactions.

Following Dittmer’s retirement in 2001, the university held a symposium in his honor. He continued conducting research with undergraduates and postdoctoral students.

Dittmer was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1951.

Survivors include his sister, Claire Myers; nieces, Jane McNamara, Dohan Bell, and Molly Dittmer Amadei; and nephews, Rodney Myers and Joel Myers. Dittmer was preceded in death by his brother, David.

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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