June 26, 1932 –
January 22, 2004
Orville L. Chapman was
born on June 26, 1932, in New London, Connecticut. The son of a Naval officer,
he grew up in several cities in the United States and Central America. He
attended high school in San Diego and received his undergraduate degree at
Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia with a double major in
Chemistry and English. Orville received his Ph.D. with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University in 1957. He became an Instructor at Iowa State in 1957 and moved up the
ranks to Professor in 1964. Orville was an early pioneer in the emerging field
of organic photochemistry.
from Iowa State to UCLA in 1974, on the heels of his exciting successes in
applying matrix isolation spectroscopy to the characterization of
cyclobutadiene and benzyne. The years 1975-85 were an extremely productive
period for the investigation of a wide variety of organic reactive
intermediates: carbenes, nitrenes, propadienones, silenes, carbonyl oxides,
strained alkynes, etc. At UCLA, Orville's ideas concerning the novel molecule,
C60, germinated in 1980, and in 1981 he initiated efforts directed
at the chemical synthesis of C60. This work was but one part of a
new effort in the synthesis and characterization of various types of strained,
non-planar aromatic compounds. In retrospect, these efforts are now recognized
as pioneering contributions to materials chemistry.
Orville and his colleague, Arlene Russell, formed a company that offered
in-house short courses in technical writing. They continued their collaboration
in the production of a laser videodisc for teaching NMR spectroscopy and in
pioneering the use of 13C NMR spectroscopy as a method for
introducing the topic of organic chemistry. This was the first effort in
Orville's emerging interest in revamping the undergraduate curriculum using
technology. In 1989, he became Associate Dean for Educational Innovation at
UCLA, a position that he held until his death. In 1995, Orville spearheaded an
NSF-funded systemic reform project, which led to a widely-adopted,
computer-based instructional program for managing writing and peer review in
large undergraduate classes.
received many national and international awards, including the Pure Chemistry
Award and the Arthur C. Cope Medal from the American Chemical Society, the
Havinga Medal from the Stichtung Havinga, Leiden, the Netherlands, and the Texas Instruments Foundation Founders' Prize. He was elected to the
National Academy of Sciences in 1974. In 1991, he brought national recognition to UCLA with the
Computer World Smithsonian Institute Award for the best use of computers in
education and academia. He
was a long-term consultant for Mobil Chemical, and was involved in the invention
of a significant number of their processes.
Chapman was internationally recognized as a brilliant, creative scholar and an
intellectual leader in various fields of endeavor. He was a trailblazer and
innovator in photochemistry, matrix isolation spectroscopy, reaction
intermediates, chemical communication, the mechanism of olfactory perception,
polymers, and materials design. He also achieved a worldwide reputation for
bringing the best of information technology to higher education.
survived by his mother, Mabel; his wife, Susan; his two sons, Kevin and
Kenneth; and three grandsons, David, Daniel, and Timothy.