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By Greta Petry (October 3, 2007)

UAlbany to Honor Life of Internationally Known Chemist Harry Frisch with Oct. 14 Memorial Service

Harry Frisch
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Harry L. Frisch
1928 - 2007

The University at Albany community will honor the late Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Harry L. Frisch with a memorial service on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m. at the Constance and Thomas D'Ambra Auditorium in the Life Sciences Research Building on the main UAlbany campus. Frisch, 78, died Friday, Sept. 21, in St. Peter's Hospital in the presence of his family.

A corresponding member of the European Academy of Art, Sciences and Humanities, 1993, he was also a foreign member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Science, 1996. Frisch traveled extensively to meet with international collaborators; some of his work was done in Germany, funded by a Humboldt Preis (1987).

Frisch earned his doctorate from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Prior to joining the University at Albany faculty in 1967, he worked at Bell Laboratories for nine years and had also been an assistant professor at the University of Southern California. At UAlbany, while on the Department of Chemistry faculty, he served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences for the Division of Mathematics and Science from 1969 to 1971.

"Harry's career was marked by both the diversity of his interests and by his incredible productivity," said Department of Chemistry Chair John T. Welch. Over his more than 50-year career, Frisch published more than 550 articles, from his first paper in 1951 until the time of his death, when he still had papers at press. He attained the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, that of Distinguished Professor, in 1978.

In remembering Frisch, Welch said, "Harry had a long and distinguished career at UAlbany, working with numerous students, post-doctoral co-workers and colleagues to publish many hundreds of papers. He will be sorely missed. A scientist gifted with an extraordinary intellect, his innate curiosity led him to study problems from anthropology to polymer physics. His scientific collaborations spanned the globe."

Frisch retired in 1999, but remained active in his field. Upon winning a Fulbright scholar grant in 2002, Frisch spent a semester at South Africa's University of Stellenbosch, where he lectured and conducted research on "Physics and Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules and Stiff Polymers."

Prior to that, he won the Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids of the American Chemical Society for 2000. This national award was given in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the understanding of the chemistry and physics of liquids.

Frisch is survived by his sons, Benjamin (and Benjamin's wife Jenny Knight) of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Michael of Kansas City, Mo., and by his cousin, Tiara Jaron of East Greenbush, N.Y. Frisch was born on November 13, 1928 in Vienna, Austria. He and his parents left Austria in 1938. He resided in East Greenbush and in the Albany area for the past four decades.

Frisch had a lifetime interest in civil and human rights. He marched in Selma, Ala., and he supported scientists in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Frisch collected both stamps and stamp boxes and he read murder mysteries with a passion.

Donations may be made to The Harry L. Frisch Memorial Fund in Chemistry, University at Albany Foundation, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, N.Y., 12222.

 

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