September 13, 1919–July 6, 1985
BY MICHAEL F. GOLDE
FREDERICK KAUFMAN WAS a leader in the field of gas-phase chemical kinetics and its application to the understanding of atmospheric and combustion processes. He figured prominently in the national, and later international, debate concerning the possible impact of the chlorofluorocarbon class of compounds on the stratospheric ozone layer. His stance on this issue was typical of his clearsightedness and integrity as a scientist: legislation concerning production and use of these compounds Should be based on reliable experimental data and computer models. He urged moderation and caution until the reliability of this information could be established. Subsequent actions, first, to ban the use of freons in aerosol propellants, and second, to control more stringently the production of the potentially most hazardous chlorofluorocarbons, were based on the careful program of chemical kinetic measurements conducted by him and others in laboratories around the world.
Many of these studies were made possible by Kaufman's pioneering work in the 1950s, which adapted the venerable discharge-flow technique of Wood and Bonhoeffer into a modern tool for gaining information on the rates and products of elementary reactions, the simple building blocks of complex reaction mechanisms. Until his death in 1985 he