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Erach R. Talaty

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 14, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 15

Erach R. Talaty, 86, a professor of chemistry at Wichita State University, died in Wichita, Kan., on June 13, 2013.

Born in Persia (the former name of Iran), Talaty moved with his family to India and received a B.Sc. in chemistry in 1948 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1954 from Nagpur University (now Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University).

He then moved to the U.S. and received a second Ph.D.—in organic chemistry—from Ohio State University in 1957. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Robert Burns Woodward at Harvard University, he spent a few years doing research in industry and then completed another postdoctoral fellowship with Glen Russell at Iowa State University.

Talaty held faculty positions at Louisiana State University, New Orleans, and the University of South Dakota before joining Wichita State as a professor in 1969. His research centered on the synthesis and reactions of α-lactams. He was credited with almost 100 publications, including some focused on effective methods for teaching complex chemistry concepts. He continued to teach through the spring 2013 semester.

A devoted, inspirational, and much-revered teacher, Talaty received Wichita State’s Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Award and the Academy for Effective Teaching Award. He was also named the 1999 Kansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement & Support of Education.

He was a 57-year member of ACS, joining in 1957.

Talaty was predeceased by his wife, Margaret. He is survived by his sister, Ketayum Gould, and stepdaughters, Judith Greene and Erica Rafat.

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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