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Marilyn E. Jacox

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 27, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 4

Marilyn E. Jacox, 84, a scientist emeritus in the Sensor Science Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards & Technology, died on Oct. 30, 2013, in Rockville, Md., after a brief illness.

Born in Utica, N.Y., Jacox received a B.A. in chemistry from Utica College in 1951 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Cornell University in 1956 under Simon H. Bauer.

After completing postdoctoral work at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Jacox served as a research fellow at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (now Carnegie Mellon University) in ­Pittsburgh.

In 1962, she joined the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), where she spent the rest of her career. She retired as a NIST Fellow in 1996.

Jacox was internationally recognized for investigations of the structure and the vibrational and electronic spectra of molecules, ions, and molecular clusters trapped in nitrogen and rare-gas cryogenic matrices. She published an autobiographical article titled “Walking in the Footprints of Giants” in the Annual Review of Physical Chemistry in 2010.

She was a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an emerita member of ACS, joining in 1957.

She received many accolades, including the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy from ACS in 2003. The Journal of Physical Chemistry published a Festschrift issue in her honor in 2000.

Jacox enjoyed traveling, music, and photography. She was an active member of the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Md.

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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