May 5, 1913–August 29, 2005
BY DONALD S. MCCLURE AND JACOB BIGELEISEN
BEGINNING IN THE EARLY 1950S, Clyde Hutchison Jr. explored the chemical applications of electron spin resonance (EPR), a type of spectroscopy that had just been invented and was undergoing explosive development. He was the first person to measure the electron spin resonance in the triplet states of organic molecules, thus finally confirming the triplet nature of the phosphorescent state of these molecules. He made wise choices of problems for his laboratory to work on, resulting in many firsts and a stream of well-trained and enthusiastic students. He did this with a combination of intense dedication and delightful wit that gave him a unique role in the world of physical chemistry.
Clyde was born into the family of a Methodist minister living in Alliance, Ohio, in the northeast of the state. He was followed by three siblings: sister Frances, brother Dwight, and sister Betty Lu. Their father expected each child to play at least two musical instruments and to practice at least an hour a day. Thus Clyde became an excellent pianist and organist and could sight-read any music placed before him. He played the organ in his father’s church, and in later years he played the piano for the annual chemistry department Christmas party and much later for his friends in the retirement home where he lived.