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Orville L. Chapman (1932Ц2004) Organic Chemistry and Education

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Obituary
Orville L. Chapman (1932–
2004): Organic Chemistry
and Education
Orville L. Chapman died on January 22,
2004 at the age of 71 from complications
associated with pulmonary fibrosis. He
was born on June 26, 1932
in New London (CT,
USA). The son of a naval
officer, he grew up in several cities in the United
States and Central America.. He attended elementary school in Washington,
DC while his father served
as chief engineer on F. D.
Roosevelt1s yacht. During
this time the young ChapOrville L. Chapman man and his mother visited
many museums in Washington, stimulating a lifelong interest in art,
symmetry, and structure. Chapman
received his undergraduate degree
from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in
Blacksburg with a double major in
chemistry and English and completed
his PhD with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University (NY) in 1957. He began
his independent career at Iowa State
University, where he rose quickly
through the ranks to become full professor in 1964.
Chapman was a pioneer in the field
of organic photochemistry. His selection
of this research area was characteristically bold, especially in view of his lack
of prior experience in mechanistic
chemistry. Chapman credited his colleagues Chuck DePuy and Glen Russell
with teaching him physical organic
chemistry. His early work focused on
enone photochemistry and the mechanism of photocycloaddition reactions.[1]
At a time when NMR spectroscopy
remained in the domain of physical
chemistry, Chapman recognized the
potential of this technique for structure
determination, and published widely
cited contributions in this area. In collaboration with entomologist Jerry
Klun, Chapman pursued research on
insect sex pheromones.[2]
Chapman1s interest in reaction
mechanisms and theoretically interest-
4122
ing molecules led him to adopt techniques that allowed direct experimental
detection of reactive species. Early
efforts involved IR spectroscopy of
intermediates generated upon photolysis of neat precursors at 77 K. A critical
advance came in the early 1970s when
he was introduced to rare-gas matrix isolation spectroscopy by Jake Pacansky.
They adapted this technique to study
reactive intermediates in organic
chemistry, including the classic cases of
cyclobutadiene and o-benzyne.[3]
Chapman accepted a position at the
University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA) in 1974. The years 1975–88
brought the investigation of a wide variety of intermediates, such as carbenes,
nitrenes, propadienones, silenes, carbonyl oxides, and strained alkynes.[4] In 1981
Chapman initiated work directed at the
chemical synthesis of the novel molecule
C60, as part of a broader program which
involved the synthesis and characterization of various types of strained, nonplanar aromatic compounds.[5] In retrospect, these efforts are recognized as
pioneering contributions to materials
chemistry. Chapman1s understanding of
C60, C70, C84, and curved polyacenes
anticipated discoveries that revolutionized chemistry.
Throughout his career, Chapman1s
intellect, creativity, and personality
attracted tremendously talented students and postdoctoral fellows to his
research group. He was a fountain of
ideas and inspiration. He gave his students wide latitude, but abundant support and encouragement, in their efforts
to reduce these ideas to practice. He graciously and generously distributed
praise, and he took great pride in the
accomplishments of his co-workers.
In 1984, Chapman and his colleague
Arlene Russell formed a company that
offered in-house short courses in technical writing. They also produced a laser
videodisc for teaching NMR spectroscopy and pioneered the use of
13
C NMR spectroscopy to teach symmetry and structure in introductory chemistry courses. From 1989 until his death he
was Associate Dean for Educational
Innovation at UCLA. In 1995, he spearheaded a project for systemic reform of
the undergraduate curriculum, which
2004 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200460954
led to a widely adopted instructional
software program for developing writing
and critical-thinking skills in large
undergraduate classes, known as “Calibrated Peer Review (CPR)”.[6]
Chapman received many national
and international awards, including the
ACS Award in Pure Chemistry and the
Arthur C. Cope Award from the ACS
(American Chemical Society), the
Havinga Medal from the Stichtung
Havinga (Leiden, The Netherlands),
and the Texas Instruments Foundation
Founders1 Prize. He was elected to the
US National Academy of Sciences in
1974. In 1995 he received the ComputerWorld Smithsonian Institute Award for
the best use of computers in education
and academia.
Orville Chapman was a man of
extraordinary talents: a scholar, a scientist, an author, a poet, a man of indefatigable spirit. Creativity burst from him
in every manifestation. He was a trailblazer and innovator in photochemistry,
matrix isolation spectroscopy, reactive
intermediates, chemical communication, olfactory perception, and materials
chemistry. As a long-term consultant for
Mobil Chemical, he participated in the
invention of many of their industrial
processes. He achieved a worldwide reputation for bringing the best of information technology to higher education.
Chapman is survived by his mother,
his wife, two sons, and three grandsons.
He will be remembered for his
warmth, generosity, and great creativity.
Robert J. McMahon
University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA)
[1] O. L. Chapman, Pure Appl. Chem. (Supplement) 1971, 311.
[2] J. A. Klun, O. L. Chapman, K. C. Mattes,
P. W. Wojtkowski, M. Beroza, P. E.
Sonnet, Science 1973, 181, 661.
[3] O. L. Chapman, Pure Appl. Chem. 1974,
40, 511.
[4] a) O. L. Chapman, Pure Appl. Chem.
1979, 51, 331; b) O. L. Chapman, J. W.
Johnson, R. J. McMahon, P. R. West, J.
Am. Chem. Soc. 1988, 110, 501.
[5] S. Kivelson, O. L. Chapman, Phys. Rev. B
1983, 28, 7236.
[6] http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu/
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 4122
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