- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006

Peter Edgar Hare, noted scientist at the District’s Carnegie Institution, died May 5 at the Port Orange Christian Adult Care Home in Port Orange, Fla., following a long battle with Lyme disease. He was 73.

Mr. Hare was born April 14, 1933, in Maymyo, Burma, where his parents served as missionaries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif., in 1954 and earned a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, in 1955.

For the next three years, Mr. Hare worked as a chemistry instructor at Pacific Union.

He then studied at the California Institute of Technology and graduated with a doctorate in organic geochemistry in 1962. His dissertation, on the amino acids and proteins from carbonate minerals found in the shells of modern and fossil mussels, was published in Science magazine in 1963.

Mr. Hare’s work attracted the attention of Phillip H. Abelson, who was then the director of the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory. The two scientists corresponded for several years until Mr. Hare was invited to join the laboratory’s scientific staff in 1963.

During his early years at the laboratory, Mr. Hare set up a new instrument to measure amino acids. His first paper on the development of new methodology for amino acid analysis appeared in 1966 in a publication of the Federation of the American Society for Experimental Biology.

In 1968, Mr. Hare and Mr. Abelson published the first paper on the discovery of left and right-handed amino acids in fossil shells. Mr. Hare used this information to develop a process for accurately dating ancient shells and bones.

For the rest of his career, Mr. Hare focused on studying the conversion of amino acids from left to right-handed and using the amino acid age-dating technique to date early man in North America, early human evolution in Africa and the geological progression of Arctic climates.

Mr. Hare, whose laboratory became the training ground for many young scientists, also was involved in searching for signs of life on the first rocks that came from the moon. He found some evidence for amino acids in lunar samples and published his findings in Science in 1971.

In 1979, Mr. Hare co-authored a landmark paper on new techniques for measuring left and right-handed amino acids. He and fellow author Emanuel-Av from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel then obtained a patent on their invention.

Mr. Hare and his wife, Patti, lived in the District’s Van Ness neighborhood when he retired from the Carnegie Institution in 1998.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Hare’s other survivors include a daughter, Carol Pack, of Laurel; a son, Calvin Hare of Orlando, Fla.; a brother, Leonard Hare of Berrien Springs, Mich., and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to the P.E. Hare Scholarship Fund at the Pacific Union College Advancement Office, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin, Calif. 94508.

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