Chemistry Professor Jay Kochi Dies

August 11, 2008

A longtime University of Houston faculty member recognized as one of the world’s leading scientists in organic chemistry has died.

Jay K. Kochi, 81, Welch Professor of Chemistry, died Saturday, Aug. 9, following a brief illness. He is survived by his wife and children.

A prolific researcher with a distinguished career, Kochi continued to publish and run an active lab until his death. Among his many honors were membership in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and the James Flack Norris Award in physical organic chemistry for his outstanding research contributions.

John. L. Bear, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, called Kochi “tremendously innovative” and said scientists understand much more about chemistry and all molecules because of his work.

“The worldwide field of chemistry has lost a major contributor to basic research,” Bear said.

Before joining the department of chemistry in 1984, Kochi was the Earl Blough Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University. Additionally, he was on faculty at what was then Case University, worked as a chemist at Shell Development Co., and was a fellow at Cambridge University and an instructor at Harvard University. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Los Angeles and a doctorate from Iowa State University.

Susan Hammons