It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Professor Nicholas (Nick) Turro, William P. Schweitzer Professor of Chemistry, and our longtime colleague and friend. With a B.A. degree from Wesleyan University, Nick attended graduate school at Caltech and received his Ph.D. degree with George S. Hammond. Following a postdoctoral year at Harvard with P. D. Bartlett, he joined the faculty at Columbia University. Nick's loyalty and service to the university had many substantial aspects including chairing Chemistry and co-chairing Chemical Engineering with George Flynn. Nick's very creative and groundbreaking achievements in chemistry were recognized with the 2011 Arthur C. Cope Award in Organic Chemistry, given annually "to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry," and with the 2000 Willard Gibbs Award, which recognizes "eminent chemists who...have brought to the world developments that enable everyone to live more comfortably and to understand this world better."  He is the recipient of many other awards and in 2013 will be honored with the inaugural George S. Hammond Award by the Inter-American Photochemical Society.  Nick was elected to two of the most prestigious scientific academies, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, at the age of 43.  He authored several influential books including Molecular Photochemistry, and was selected as one of the most highly cited chemists for the past two decades, with over 900 research papers. Nick was a brilliant scientist, a highly regarded teacher, and a wonderful person, and the loss to the university community is incomprehensibly great.

Please send comments you would like to share about Nick to <[email protected]>. Your comments will be posted on our Turro Memorial webpage. (Please let us know if you do not want your comments posted).   You can see the posted comments here.

Memorial donations may be made in Nick’s name to The Lustgarten Foundation at 


A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 11, from approximately 12 noon to 4 PM.  There will be a reception immediately following the service.   Please RSVP to [email protected].  More detailed information will be sent in the near future.