University of Rochester

Frank P. Buff, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Dies at 85

September 1, 2009

Frank P. Buff, emeritus professor in the Department of Chemistry, died in Rochester on July 1, 2009, at the age of 85.

Buff was on faculty at the University of Rochester from 1950 until his retirement in 1994. Born in Munich, Germany in 1924, Buff received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and Physics with highest honors from University of California, Berkeley in 1944. A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army in intelligence from 1944-1946. Following military service, he worked in 1946 as a junior chemist at Shell Development Company prior to continuing his doctoral and postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology. There he earned his doctorate in chemistry in 1949, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship awarded by the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949-50.

Buff published numerous seminal papers in the fields of physical chemistry and physics, and in 1995 his work was included among the 1,000 most influential papers of the 20th Century as chosen by the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics. He was a 60-year member of the American Chemical Society, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Chemists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and fellow of the American Physical Society.

He is further remembered for contributing to the development of a long-range plan for the department that eventually led to the construction of Hutchison Hall and a significant growth of the faculty of the Department of Chemistry in the late 60's and early 70's.

Buff is survived by his wife of 52 years, Iva, and his two daughters and their families. Buff donated his body to the University of Rochester Medical School. The family has requested that any donations in Buff's memory be made to the Visiting Nurse Service, 2180 Empire Boulevard, Webster, NY 14580.