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Raymond Pepinsky (1912-1993)

[Electron density map] Electron density map for a pyridyl antihistamine reported by Pepinsky, Rathley and Turley in 1958 (Acta Cryst. 11, 295).
It is with great sadness that we note the passing of our long-time senior colleague Ray Pepinsky on Friday, May 7, 1993. Ray had been ill for several months following his slow recovery from a rare Gillain-Barre syndrome infection last year.

Ray was well known for his contributions in crystallography, his discoveries in ferroelectricity, and his pioneering work introducing computer techniques to the study of biological molecules. He was cited in the Nov. 1992 edition of Scientific American for developing analog computer techniques to transform X-ray crystallographic data into intelligible molecular pictures. Ray obtained his doctorate in Crystallography under Zachariasen at the U. of Chicago in 1940, and joined the Alabama Polytechnique Inst. as a faculty member in 1941. He took leave from API to join a group of scientists at the MIT Radiation Lab. working on problems of national interest, including the development of radar during the Second World War. As the Director of the Crystal Research Lab. and Growth Inst. of Penn. State U. from 1949 to 1963 Ray carried out the studies in crystallography for which he is most famous.

Ray came to Florida in 1963 to head the Dept. of Physics at Florida Atlantic U. and was the Distinguished Prof. of Chem. and Physics at FAU until 1965. He was the Robert Law Prof. of Physics and Chem. at Nova U. in Ft. Lauderdale until 1968, when he joined the U. of Florida as Prof. of Physics and Metallurgical & Materials Engineering. Ray was elected as Fellow of American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and held an honorary D.Sc. (honoris causa) from Justus-Liebig U. in Giessen. He was awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim, Smith-Mundt, Rockefeller, and Welch Foundations at various times in his career. He also served on several committees of the Natl. Acad. of Sciences; as Secy. on the Natl. Committee on Crystallography (1949-52), the NAS Solid-State Physics Committee (1951-72), the Advisory Panel to NBS 0 959-62), and on the American Inst. of Physics Governing Board (1959-62).

In addition to his most distinguished scientific career, Ray is remembered for his culture, interests, and appreciation of music. The Art of Song, his weekly program on poetry, music, and song performance was popular with U. of Florida listeners. He taught courses on the art of song and on Biophysics in the University Honors Prog. His students had great appreciation for his depth of understanding.

N. Simon
27 August 2009