August 23, 1934December 14, 2003


After a long illness, Professor Mario E. Baur passed away on December 14, 2003 at the age of 69.


Mario grew up in Chicago, where he was an honors student at the University of Chicago; he was awarded an AB in Liberal Arts in 1953 and an MS in Chemistry in 1955.  He pursued studies in Physical Chemistry at MIT, completing a Ph.D. in three years.   Mario’s graduate research with Walter Stockmayer was concerned with experimental studies of the chain dynamics of polymers.   After receiving a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship, Mario carried out research in statistical mechanics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.  He continued post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Diego in 1961-62, where he worked with Joseph E. Mayer.


In 1962 Mario joined our faculty as Assistant Professor and undertook a broad program of research.  His theoretical interests included irreversible thermodynamics, the statistical mechanics of equilibrium polymer systems, solid-state and biopolymer chemical physics and the motional states of molecules in solids.   At the same time he carried out experimental studies on the liquid sulfur system and used dielectric measurement techniques to study the structures of charge transfer complexes in liquid solutions.   Starting in the middle 70’s Mario reoriented his research to concentrate on interdisciplinary research at the boundary between physical chemistry, earth sciences and environmental chemistry.  Again his interests were very broad – from the biogeochemistry of volatiles in Earth environment to the physiological adaptations of biota to the chemical environment of the terrestrial atmosphere.


Mario was a dedicated and highly effective teacher.  He was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching in 1966 and the departmental Hansen-Dow Teaching Award in 1993.   Despite suffering from a debilitating illness for the past 3 1/2 years, Mario continued to teach.


Mario was a scholar of great intellect.  He had a profound knowledge of science, and all the many things that interested him – polymers, statistical physics, quantum mechanics, environmental science and the Chicago Cubs.  He could serve as a sounding board for discussions of research with his colleagues, and served as a highly-regarded expert witness in over 150 legal cases.


He leaves his wife Ida and four children, Matthew, Kim, Joshua and Saskia.  A Memorial Service was held at the Faculty Center on Saturday, January 10.  Donations in his memory can be made to City of Hope with the annotation “Mario Baur Fund”.