Robert W Murray, Curators’ Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at UM-St Louis, died March 13, aged 83. He joined the University in 1968 after a ten-year career at Bell Laboratories. He graduated from Brown and Wesleyan and completed his PhD degree at Yale.
Bob was department chair from 1975 to 1980 and was appointed Curators’ Professor in 1981. He received the St Louis Award (1974), the Midwest Award (1989), the UM Presidential Award for Research and Creativity (1990), the I H Weldon Medal of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (1994) and the St Louis Academy of Sciences Peter H Raven Lifetime Achievement Award (2001). An endowed lecture series at UMSL was established in his name and his honor in 1998.
He was a 62-year ACS member well known for his research in oxidation chemistry, particularly that involving ozone, singlet oxygen, hydrotrioxides and dioxiranes. Dimethyldioxirane, referred to in the literature as “Murray’s Reagent,” is now used widely. He published about 175 articles and gave about 300 invited lectures in the US and Europe.
Bob Murray was known as a compassionate and understanding organic chemistry teacher to graduate students, chemistry majors and health science majors. He assumed emeritus status in 1999 and is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Claire, six children, 15 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
A more detailed obituary notice appeared in the St Louis Post-Dispatch.