Norman was admired by his many students and colleagues. His students organized symposia for his sixtieth, seventieth, seventy-fifth, and eightieth birthdays. The format was simple: present one’s own science. Norman sat in front, with his yellow pad, and took in every word.
He is survived by his wife, Annemarie Davidson, of Sierra Madre, California; by four children, Terry Davidson of Poway, California; Laureen Agee of Mammoth Lakes, California; Jeff Davidson of Cayucos, California; and Brian Davidson of Walnut Creek, California; and by eight grandchildren. Norman rarely used his middle name, Ralph.
CONTRIBUTION BY A. ZEWAIL
Norman Davidson made significant contributions to physical chemistry before he shifted his efforts to biophysical chemistry and to biology. Perhaps these contributions can be classified into two major areas. One is theoretical and involves the work on thermodynamics and statistical mechanics that culminated in his classic textbook (1962), which was based on his course for first-year graduate students. The preface states, “The statistical mechanics of dilute systems of independent particles at equilibrium is a subject which is essentially fully developed. The practicing chemist should be able to apply this theory with assurance and accuracy to calculate the thermodynamic properties of substances in the ideal-gas state from molecular structure data.” In 2003 this book received the accolade of republication as a Dover paperback edition.
The other area is experimental. Norman and his group were among the leaders in developing the shock-tube method for kinetics of reactions. Stimulated by the work in 1920 of