We have learned of the deaths of the following members of the College of Chemistry community. Listed below are their names, UC Berkeley degree information, and information about their academic and work history if known. We have also provided a link to an online obituary, when available.
Chin-Tzu Peng ('53 Ph.D. Chem)
(04/10/2018) Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry of UCSF School of Pharmacy. Dr. Peng was born near Xi'an, China on October 10, 1921 into a banker's family. In the mid 1940s, he graduated from Fu Jen Catholic University of Beijing with a BS degree in chemistry. In 1947 he came to the United States and continued his studies. In 1953, he obtained a Ph.D. degree in chemistry at UC Berkeley and started working at UCSF soon after his graduation until his official retirement in the mid 1990s. During these four decades and beyond, he worked tirelessly as a chemist in the field of tritium and liquid scintillation, and produced more than 120 publications, including journal articles and book chapters, and served as referee for many scientific journals. He was awarded the prestigious Melvin Calvin Award by the International Isotope Society in 1994.
Constance Ruben ('64 B.A. French + Political Science)
(03/03/2018) Connie was a long time friend of the College and the daughter of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Samuel Ruben, a College staff member and long time College supporter. Her father died in a laboratory accident in 1943 while he was working as Official Investigator for the Office of Scientific Research and Development during WWII. Connie went to work after graduation in the UC Berkeley system. First in the Chemistry Department, followed by the Criminology Department, then for the agricultural publications section of UC Press. She was an editor and was responsible for putting together a book on the trees of the UC Berkeley campus. From the UC system, she went on to work at Thoratec. Connie retired from Baseline Environmental Consulting in 2008.
Barney Rubin ('50 Ph.D. ChemE)
(02/24/2018) In 1953 Rubin was one of the first employees of the newly-created Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory, now known as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). He spent the next 31 years in a variety of positions and research projects at LLNL. Initially he was in charge of the original engineering group for manufacturing the critical parts of LLNL's first test devices. Over the years his responsibilities rotated through directing the chemical engineering, plastics, metallurgy, plutonium, ceramics and tritium groups.
When the tritium group was in his division he was responsible for setting up and setting off test bombs at Christmas Island, in the Nevada desert, and at the atolls of Bikini and Eniwetok. He found participating in these field experiments to be the most enjoyable part of his career. Rubin appeared in Life Magazine in 1957 when there was a misfire at a Nevada Proving Ground test site. It was his task to climb a 500-foot tower with two of his co-workers to disarm the bomb.
At LLNL, Rubin was instrumental in attempting to develop atomic energy for peaceful uses. He joined their Plowshare Project to promote non-combat uses of nuclear explosives. For 10 years he worked with the Energy Research Group to invent energy-producing ideas and as part of a separate Long-Range Planning Group he looked for new research and development initiatives outside the area of defense. In 1983 Rubin went to Washington D.C. for two years to work for the Arms Control and Disarmament Committees at the Pentagon. He offered his expert knowledge about the industrial process of making thermo-nuclear bombs to assist them with determining how to verify the reduction of nuclear arms with the Soviet Union. After returning he worked in the LLNL Verification and Control of Arms Group to support the non-proliferation of nuclear and chemical warfare. Before retiring he examined how to develop electronic communication between computers and after retiring he remained a consultant for the LLNL Energy Program.