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Remembering AAAS Fellow Lester Robert Morss

AAAS Fellow Lester Robert Morss, 1940-2014, died peacefully at home on June 14.  The cause was metastatic ocular melanoma diagnosed in March 2014.

Morss began his scientific career in inorganic chemistry and radiochemistry in research on the actinide elements uranium through californium, achieving a Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley in 1969.  

He reached the rank of full professor of chemistry at Rutgers University, conducting research in synthetic inorganic chemistry and thermochemistry of transition elements there and then at Argonne National Laboratory in solid-state and thermochemistry of transuranium elements. In 1991, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  From 2002 until 2010, he was Program Manager for Heavy Element Chemistry in the Office of Basic Energy Sciences of US Department of Energy, Germantown, Maryland.

He was an adjunct professor of chemistry at University of Maryland, College Park and a Visiting Scholar at George Washington University, teaching Chemistry until May 2014. He was honored with a three-day symposium at the 2012 American Chemical Society Meeting, "A Career in Actinide Science: Tribute to Lester Morss". 

For many years, he co-edited The Chemistry of the Actinide and Transactinide Elements (6 volumes). In retirement, he continued avid interests in science, reading, and travel, and spent much time with his grandchildren, inspiring their love of science and learning.

"Lester was a strong champion of chemical research, particularly in actinide and technetium chemistry in his guidance at the Basic Energy Sciences of the Office of Science at the US-DOE late in his career. Lester also was an active researcher, brilliant scientist, and accomplished author but especially a kind and courteous gentleman," wrote Cal Delegard, a chemist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in an online memorial guest book.