In Memoriam - 2020

We have learned of the deaths of the following members of the College of Chemistry community. Listed below are their names, UC Berkeley degree(s), and information about their academic and work history if known. We have also provided a link to an online obituary when available.

Charles B. Harris, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Charles B. Harris

(3/10/20)  Charles was born in New York in 1940 but spent most of his youth in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1963 and his Ph.D. degree from MIT in 1966. Charles joined the Berkeley faculty in the Department of Chemistry in 1967. In 2003, Charles became Chair of the Department of Chemistry and then served as Dean of the College of Chemistry from 2004 through 2007. He was also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and served in various administrative roles. Charles retired in 2015 but remained an important part of the chemistry community.

Charles was a world leader in the field of condensed phase chemical dynamics, with a focus on the areas of ultrafast and electron dynamics at interfaces and chemical reaction dynamics in liquids. His prolific career is reflected in over 200 publications and a number of prestigious honors and awards, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences and induction as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society. 


Mario Molina (Ph.D. '72, Chem) Nobel Laureate

Mario Molina

(10/07/20) Mario died at the age off 77. He won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1995, along with F Sherwood Rowland and the Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen, for their work unravelling the impact of CFCs on the ozone layer, and the stark warning they delivered to humanity. Molina and Rowland jointly published a landmark paper in the peer-review journal Nature in 1974 showing the impact of CFCs on ozone.

Despite the strength of their science, it was more than a decade before their work was acted upon, amid protestations from the chemical industry. Nasa at first reported that their data showed no signs of ozone depletion – it was later discovered they were led astray by computer software trained to ignore what seemed anomalous readings. It was only with the work of Joe Farman and colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey in another Nature paper in 1985 that clinching proof was obtained – a vast hole was opening up in the ozone layer over the South Pole. Read his obituary at the Guardian.


Susan Prausnitz (née Bergmann) Friend of the College

Susan Prausnitz

(05/25/20)  Susan Bergmann Prausnitz was born June 17, 1933, in Berlin, Germany, to Hans and Toni Bergmann, and emigrated with her family to St. Albans in Queens, NY, in 1935. She graduated from Cornell University in 1955 with a major in Zoology, and soon moved to Berkeley, CA, to marry  John Prausnitz, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecural Engineering, and raise a family. 

She was a devoted professor’s wife and mother of two. Susie served her community as a paralegal for the nonprofit Legal Assistance for Seniors. She was passionate about swing music, playing ukulele, and gardening. She loved entertaining and was famous for her annual New Years Eve and plum cake parties.  

Susie was loved by many for her warmth, wit and charm.  She is survived by husband John, children Stephanie (David Fryer) and Mark (Cindy Weinbaum), and grandchildren Hannah, Mia and Samuel. 


Gus Downs Dorough Jr. (Ph.D. ' 47, Chem)

Gus Dorough

(04/13/2) Gus was born in 1922 at Los Angeles, California. Gus attended UC Berkeley and earned a B.S. in Chemistry. Shortly after, he was drafted into the army and ended up working on the Manhattan Project. In 1946 he left the military and returned to UC Berkley. Gus graduated in 1947 with his Ph.D. and went on to teach at Washington University in St. Louis. He taught for seven years then returned to work at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Livermore (now the Lawrence Livermore Lab). Gus became the head of the chemistry department at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory.

In 1971 he accepted a presidential appointment as deputy director of research and technology at the Pentagon. After two years, he returned to Livermore and worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab until he retired in 1985. Gus created an endowed professorship in chemistry at UC Berkeley. Aside from his passion for chemistry, Gus enjoyed traveling and had a love for the arts. Gus was interviewed as part of the Calvin Lab oral project in 1995 at UC Berkeley. See chapter 22.


Berni Alder (B.S. '47, ChemE; M.S. '48, ChemE

Berni Alder

(09/07/2020)  Berni Alder was born in Germany in 1925, but was a Swiss citizen. In 1932, his family moved to Zurich, just before Hitler came to power. In 1941, when he was 16 years old, he fled Switzerland right before the United States entered World War II and took a sealed train through occupied France and then onto Spain and Portugal. There he boarded an American ship headed to the United States.

When he was 17, he tried to join the Manhattan Project to escape the draft, but the draft board determined he was too young. Instead heage 18 he joined the U.S. Navy to repair radar for the Pacific fleet in the Philippines. At the end of WWII, Berni completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley in chemical engineering receiving a B.S. in 1946 and M.S. in 1947. He did his graduate work at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) where he met computer designer Stan Frankel. They developed a computer technique, now called the Monte Carlo method, for calculating results from random samplings.

After earning his doctorate, Berni spent time teaching as a lecturer at UC Berkeley before joining Lawrence Livermore Lab in 1955 where he spent his career.

Berni invented molecular dynamics and helped develop Monte Carlo methods, which use computers to reproduce the behavior of atoms and molecules through a large number of random steps. His discovery includes changing kinetic molecular theory, showing that simulations can significantly affect a scientific field. 


George V. Guittard (03/23/2020) B.S’49 Chem. Born Cavite, Philippines at the U.S. Naval Station Sangley Point. During WWII, when he was 18 years old, he along with his father and two brothers were imprisoned by the Japanese. He was held captive for three years then rescued in 1945. Liberated by General Douglas MacArthur and his forces in February 1945, George attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry. He was commissioned to serve as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. After returning home, he continued serving in the army reserves and retired in 1985 at the rank of colonel. Apart from his years of military service, George held positions at Metals Disintegrating and Shell Development in Emeryville, CA. He worked as a specialist in drug delivery and held over 34 U.S. patents regarding research on drugs such as the motion sickness patch TransdermScop. He worked for over 30 years as a Chemist Pharmaceutical Research Scientist at Alza Chemicals and Johnson & Johnson. George spent a lifetime dedicated to work and research and retiring at the age of 85. In retirement, George spent most of his time with his family perusing his lifelong passion for traveling. He enjoyed helping in his community and hosting big family events. 

Ivan Haller (5/08/2020) Ph.D. ’61 Chem. Born Budapest, Hungary. Ivan left Budapest after the Hungarian Revolution and the Soviet invasion in 1956. With the help of the International Rescue Committee he immigrated to the US where he attended The University of California at Berkeley. He completed his PhD in Physical Chemistry and was awarded the Texaco Fellowship. After graduating, he spent more than 30 years working with IBM Watson Research as a research scientist and finished his career at Cornell Weill Medical School in New York. Aside from his love for chemistry, Ivan truly enjoyed spending time with his family.

Robert William Hand M.D. (5/22/2020) M.S’73 Chem. Born Scranton, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Greenville. Growing up, Robert exceeded at both academics and sports. He was inducted in his high school’s Academic and Athletic hall of fame. He continued his studies, completing his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College. Robert attended UC Berkeley, where he earned an M.S. in chemistry, and went on to Yale Medical School. After completion, Robert did his residency in Maryland with a fellowship at Mass General in Pulmonary and Critical Care. He practiced in Medford, MA. He served as chief of medicine at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford and on Medford’s board of health. Robert also mentored several young physicians and shared his interests in medicine. Apart from his life calling in Medicine, he was a supporter and fan of the Bangor Symphony. He greatly enjoyed fly finishing, and most of all, he loved spending time with his wife and family. 

Richard Glanville Henninger (1/12/2020) B.S ’43 Chem. Born Council Bluffs, Iowa. Richard moved with his family to California and stayed there to complete his undergraduate education. He attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S in chemistry and then went on to Stanford where he earned an MBA. After graduating he served as a Supply Officer, first of the submarine tender USS Clytie during WWII, then of the New London Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet and lastly of the USS New Kent based in Norfolk. In 1954 Richard resigned to work as general manager for the Hazleton Laboratories in Vienna, Virginia. In 1972 he became the president of the Karloid Corporation and founded a commercial real estate company. He was a member of the boards of a number of organizations throughout his life.

Walter Joseph Herzberg (4/15/2020) Ph.D. ’68, Chem. Born Gütersloh, Germany. Walter passed away due to COVID-19 on Wednesday evening, April 15th, 2020 at the age of 92. Walter moved to Sydney Australia in 1939 fleeing from Nazi Germany. He finished his undergraduate degree before attending Berkley, where he earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry. After graduating, Walter began a career in research. He first worked in Greensboro, NC, and Fair Lawn NJ. He also used his German skills and experience in science to found SciTech Translation. In his free time, Walter enjoyed opera, tennis, and spending time with his family.

Robert L. Jamison (1/2/2020) B.S ’51 ChemE. Born San Diego, California. In high school Robert was an ROTC major and joined the navy after graduating. In the Navy he became an electronic technician. After the war, he attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S in chemical engineering. Robert began working at Shell Chemical in Torrance, CA and earned his PE to work in industrial chemistry and engineering. Robert went on to work for  Weyerhaeuser in Energy Management until 1985. In reitrement, Robert enjoyed hiking in the great outdoors. He was also a talented woodworker.

Mack Arthur Johansen(link is external) (01/18/2020) B.S ’53 ChemE. Born Salt Lake City, Utah. Mack moved with his family to Oakland California at a young age and remained there through college. Mack attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S in chemical engineering. After graduation, he was drafted for the Korean war and was stationed in Karlsruhe Germany. After the work, Mark began working as a chemical engineer helping with the development of chip manufacturing. Throughout his career he worked for several companies including Fairchild, Raytheon, ITT, Schlumberger and AMD. Mark retired in 1996.

James S. Kane (1/21/2020) Ph.D. ’55 Chem. Born Bitterroot Valley, Montana. James enrolled in the army right after high school graduation and was assigned to the infantry. He was awarded battle stars for campaigns in the Rhineland and Central Europe. He was also awarded a silver star and combat infantry badge. After the war ended in Europe, he continued to serve during the occupation of Japan and was discharged in 1946. James went on to earn a B.S in chemistry. He worked as a process chemist at General Electric and decided to go back to school once again. James attended U.C Berkeley and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry. He then began working at UCRL, which is now known as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. James became the head of the chemistry and Materials department but then in 1963 moved with his family to Pleasanton. In 1974 he and his family moved again this time to Washington D.C where he directed government research and development organization dedicated to the conservation of energy. James was later appointed deputy director for energy research for the U.S department of Energy. In 1985 he left the government and began working for UC Berkeley as a special assistant to the university president. He retired in 1991.

Eddy Chung Louie (3/19/2020) B.S. ’82 ChemE; M.S., ’85, ChemE at MIT. Born San Francisco, California. Eddy grew up in Fremont and graduated from Washington High School. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Eddy went onto MIT where he earned an M.S. in chemical engineering. After graduating, he began working with biotech companies in Boston. In 1995 Eddy returned to the bay area, where he worked in the biopharmaceutical industry. Before retiring, he served as Senior Director of Manufacturing and Site Head at Pearl Therapeutics, now AstraZeneca, in Redwood City. Aside from his busy career, Eddy was passionate about baking and traveling. He enjoyed exploring new cuisines and learning about new cultures.

Thomas Walker Mathewson(link is external) (1/3/2020) B.S. ’50 Chem. Born Santiago, Chile. Before entering university, Tom joined the US Navy and served during WWII. He then attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S in chemistry.  After graduation he moved his family in conjunction with his work at Mobil Oil. The family lived in the United States, Japan, and Saudi Arabi. He retired from Mobil Oil and enjoyed spending time with his extended family across the United States.

Rudi Egon Scheidt (4/12/2020) B.S. ’44 Chem. Born Frankfurt, Germany. Rudi immigrated to the United States in 1936. He graduated from high school at age 16 and received his B.S. in chemistry two years later. After graduation he began working for Shell Chemical Company and then moved to New York City. Rudi met his wife Honey Hohenberg whose family was from Memphis. They eventually moved to Memphis where he began working for the Hohenberg Brothers Cotton Company in. Here he helped establish international cotton trade with China and Eastern Europe. During his tenure at Hohenberg Brothers, he helped pioneer international cotton trade with China and Eastern Europe, and was proud to have completed the largest single sale of US cotton to China at the time. In the 1970s, he served as a US advisor to agriculture for President Nixon and President Ford. Rudi had a love for music and the arts. He also spent his life mentoring young businessmen and women through The Society of Entrepreneurs.

James Frederick Schooley (4/18/2020) M.S’55 NuclearChem Ph.D. ’61 NuclearChem. Born Auburn, Indiana. James began his academic journey at Indiana University, where he pursued his basketball career and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, he joined the Air Force and served for four years. James returned to UC Berkeley and earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry. He began working for the government specializing in Low-Temperature Physics. James spent 30 years in NIST research and had over 100 publications. His research helped establish the International Temperature Scale, which earned him the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver and Gold medals in 1968 and 1978. James was chosen as Editor in Chief for Journals created following the International Temperature Symposiums. James also enjoyed maintaining his small farm, where he raised his seven children, took care of livestock, and had an organic garden throughout his life.

John L. Shellabarger (02/19/2020) B.S ’58 Chem. Born Oxnard, California. John moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school in search of work. While in L.A., he was recruited by the Naval Reserves. John served in the Korean War and after being discharged hwent back to California. He attended UC Berkeley where he earned a B.S in chemistry. John worked at Applied Magnetics Corporation as a chemist. He was a member of the American Chemical Society for 61 years. He was a life long volunteer.  John had a passion for the outdoors and leading Boy scout troops serving as a scoutmaster.

Joseph Mario Viglizzo (3/14/2020) B.S’53 ChemE M.S’55 ChemE. Born San Francisco, California. Joseph grew up in San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley, where he studied chemical engineering. During his time in Berkeley, he was part of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and later decided to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Throughout his life, Joseph’s hobbies included working with cars and repairing electronics.

Earl Freemont Worden Jr. (5/22/2020) Ph.D. ’59 Chem. Born Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Earl earned his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry at the University of New Hampshire. He attended UC Berkeley for his Ph.D. in physical chemistry. After graduation, he began working at the Lawrence Livermore Lab in the Physical-Chemical Section. Earl worked in finding the first energy levels in several elements, including curium, berkelium, californium, and einsteinium. In 1985 he received the Louis A. Strait award because of his research in molecular absorption spectroscopy, atomic emission spectroscopy, and laser spectroscopy. He authored numerous publications, coauthored books on spectroscopy, and was granted several patents. He also a member of the Society of the Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Chi Sigma. James avidly enjoyed hiking, skating, swimming, and surfing.

Rebecca Lynn Zuckerman (6/4/2020) Ph. D ’00 Chem. Rebecca born Colorado. She attended Metropolitan State College, where she earned her B.S. She raised three daughters while completing her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Rebecca graduated in 2000 and began working as a medicinal chemist. She was fascinated with researching brain science and published a book on the subject. She co-invented the drug Zelboraf which is used to treat melanoma skin cancer. Apart from her research in science, Rebecca was PMP certified and traveled around the country, giving project management courses. Although active in business, she always made time for her family prioritizing her daughters above all spending time with them and her grandchildren.