- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

BOSTON (AP) — Frank B. Westheimer, one of the key figures in 20th-century chemistry and a former science adviser to President Johnson, has died, according to Harvard University, where he taught. He was 95.

Mr. Westheimer was at the forefront of a research revolution that integrated physical and organic chemistry to help reveal the way chemical reactions happen, and ultimately led to the creation of complex molecules and new medicines, according to Harvard.

In 1950, Mr. Westheimer turned to the study of enzyme reactions and biochemistry. His work led to advances in understanding of biological and biochemical processes.

In 1988, Mr. Westheimer won the Priestly Medal, the highest recognition of the American Chemical Society.

“Whether I would have made a larger contribution to chemistry if I had done fewer things and exploited them better, no one will ever know,” he said as he accepted the award.

Mr. Westheimer was born in Baltimore on Jan. 15, 1912. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932 and received his doctorate from Harvard in 1935.

He accepted a faculty post at the University of Chicago in 1936. During World War II, he was a supervisor at the National Explosives Research Laboratory and eventually returned to Harvard as a professor in 1953.

His national service didn’t end after the war.

He served as a science adviser to Mr. Johnson and in 1966 led the influential Committee of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, pushing for federal support of the chemical sciences.

In 2001, Jeanne, his wife of 64 years, preceded him in death.

He is survived by their daughters: Ruth Susan Westheimer of Worcester, Mass., and Helen Westheimer of Carlisle, Mass.

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