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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
H. TED DAVIS
Elected in 1988
“For leadership in applying chemical physics, and in uniting chemicalengineering and materials science teaching and research.”
BY EDWARD L. CUSSLER
H. TED DAVIS, regents professor at the University of Minnesota, died suddenly on May 17, 2009, at the age of 71. Ted was born August 2, 1937, in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the son of an apple farmer and a textile mill worker. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University and his Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from the University of Chicago, working with Stuart Rice. After a postdoctoral year with Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine at the Free University of Brussels, Ted joined the Department of Chemical Engineering (now Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) at the University of Minnesota, where he remained for 46 years.
Chemical engineering may seem a surprising destination for a theoretical chemist, but Ted was one of five chemists drawn to Minnesota at about the same time through the vision of Neal Amundson. Under the leadership first of Amundson and later of Ted, Minnesota’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science grew with the dramatically expanding chemical industry and has been acknowledged as one of the top departments in the discipline for half a century. The growth of the department, and of the discipline, depended less on traditional unit operations and more on mathematical analysis. This strategy was appropriate because