September 23, 2004
PROFESSOR EMERITUS JOHN ORO DIES
John “Juan” Oro,
University of Houston Professor Emeritus of Biochemical and Biophysical
Sciences, died recently in Spain.
Oro taught at UH for 39 years, from 1955 until his
retirement in 1994. During that time, he had a tremendous impact
on UH through both his research and teaching. In April 1986, he
was the eighth recipient of the Esther Farfel Award, the university’s
highest faculty honor. In 1998, UH awarded him an honorary degree.
He is considered to be the “founding father” of the
Department of Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences.
In the 1960s, he conducted some of the earliest
experiments investigating the origins of life on earth and the composition
of the cosmos, which established him as a world leader in these
fields. Oro received some of the first lunar samples that were released
by NASA for analysis. During the 1970s, he helped design experiments
and built equipment used during the Viking mission to investigate
the existence of life on Mars.
Born in Lérida, Spain, on Oct. 26, 1923,
Oro studied and received a Licenciate in Chemical Sciences from
the University of Barcelona in 1947. He completed his Ph.D. at Baylor
College of Medicine in the mid-1950s.