July 18, 1899–October 12, 1990
BY ERNEST L. ELIEL
FREDERICK D. ROSSINI was one of the preeminent thermodynamicists of the twentieth century. The thermochemical data he produced and catalogued continue to be invaluable not only in fundamental science (for example in conformational analysis and molecular mechanics) but also in applied science, notably in the petroleum industry, which, through the American Petroleum Institute, funded much of Rossini's research in this area.
Fred Rossini was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, in 1899, the oldest of six children of Martino Rossini and Constanza Carrera, both immigrants from Italy. His father died when Fred was eight, and the need to help support his family forced Fred to drop out of high school at sixteen to go to work as a hardware clerk, work he continued when his mother died three years later. Fortunately the principal of the high school (H. W. Crane, whom he had previously got to know as a football coach) provided him with a special program to finish high school with honors. At twenty-one Rossini entered Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, and soon was awarded a full-time teaching scholarship. He graduated with a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1925, followed by an M.S. degree in science (physical chemistry) in 1926. As a result