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David O. Ham

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 26, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 4

David O. Ham, 75, a physical chemist, environmental research scientist, and science educator of Williamsburg, Mass., died on Oct. 15, 2014, while attending a workshop in Houston.

Ham earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1961 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968.

He worked at the University of Rochester from 1970 to 1980, serving first as an assistant professor in the chemistry department and then as a senior research associate in the College of Engineering’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics and its department of mechanical and aerospace sciences. Ham then spent one year at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In 1980, he joined Physical Sciences Inc. in Andover, Mass., as its vice president of energy and environmental sciences. Subsequently, he founded a contract research company, Envirochem. At the time of his death, he taught physics, chemistry, and mathematics at Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, Mass.

Ham was a member of ACS from 1983 through 1999. He wrote a monthly column about global warming forThe Nucleus,a publication of the Northeastern Section.

Enthusiastic about instilling his love of science in all students, Ham was especially committed to bringing science to underprivileged youth.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, MaryAnna; his daughters, Audrey and Lesley; and a grandson.

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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