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July 1, 2002
Volume 80, Number 26
CENEAR 80 26 p. 8
ISSN 0009-2347


OBITUARY

ACS Professionalism Champion Nixon Dies At 93

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ACS FILE PHOTO
Alan C. Nixon, 93, a past president of the American Chemical Society, died in his sleep on June 22. Nixon, an active member of the ACS California Section and two-time section president, served in many offices, including as ACS president in 1973.

In 1970, Nixon was nominated by petition for the office of ACS president-elect. Nixon campaigned on a strong professionalism platform and was supported actively by a nationwide ACS group called Grassroots. Nixon lost the 1970 election to Max Tishler, the ACS Council's nominee. But he was persistent. In 1971, he ran again, holding that "the first responsibility of ACS is to its members." This time he won, defeating George S. Hammond and William A. Mosher, the council's nominees.

Perhaps his most important contribution to chemistry in general and to ACS in particular was his founding of Project SEED in 1968. This program has, for the past 34 years, offered economically disadvantaged students the opportunity to work in chemistry settings. The program now also includes college scholarships.

Nixon received a B.S. in 1929 and an M.S. in 1931 from the University of Saskatchewan. He received a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1934. While in school, he was a star goalie in hockey, a center forward in soccer, and a high-scoring wing in rugby starting with the Cal 1932 side that revived rugby on the West Coast.

Nixon spent 33 years with Shell Development as a research chemist and a research supervisor, working on the behavior and properties of motor and aviation fuels and the production and treatment of refinery product streams, among other projects. In 1970, he became a research associate and consultant at the Aerojet Propulsion Research Institute. In 1991, he became president of Calsec Consultants Inc., a nonprofit organization.



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IN BRIEF:
CAFFEINE FIX
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Slugs and snails have a new enemy: caffeine [Nature, 417, 915 (2002)]. The concentration of caffeine present in a cup of coffee is more than enough to deter slugs from feeding on cabbage. Higher concentrations kill the critters.
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