If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



James L. Copeland

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 20, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 16

Photo of James L. Copeland.

James L. Copeland, 83, professor of chemistry emeritus at Kansas State University, died on Jan. 21, at his home in Manhattan, Kan.

Born in Champaign, Ill., Copeland earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1952 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Ordnance Corps. He began graduate studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, before being called to active duty in 1953.

In 1956, Copeland was assigned to teach in the ROTC program at Eastern Michigan University. At the end of his enlistment, he returned to graduate studies at Indiana University and completed a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1961.

After a postdoctoral appointment at what is now Ames Laboratory in Iowa, he accepted a position as an assistant professor of chemistry at Kansas State in 1962. He was promoted to associate professor in 1968 and to professor in 1974. He served as associate department head from 1981 until his retirement in 1996.

Copeland’s research focused on transport, conductance, and pyrolysis kinetics of molten salt systems.

An exceptional instructor, he received the Erwin Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from Kansas State in 1992. Copeland was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1953.

He loved classical music and was skilled at digital photographic restoration. He was an active member of Peace Lutheran Church in Manhattan.

His wife, Gerda, whom he married in 1955, died in 2012. He is survived by his son, James; his daughter, Karen Lee Zeman; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.