Contact: Bob Nelson For immediate release
(212) 854-5573 April 4, 1997
American Chemical Society To Remember
Professor Brian Bent of Columbia
A memorial symposium honoring the life and accomplishments of
Columbia University chemist Brian Bent will be held at the American Chemical
Society's spring national meeting in San Francisco April 13-15.
The forum is to focus on experimental surface chemistry, a field of
increasing importance in the manufacture of microelectronic circuits and one in
which Professor Bent made original contributions. It is organized by Gabor A.
Somorjai, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and
thesis advisor to Professor Bent, who earned the Ph.D. at Berkeley in 1986.
Professor Bent collapsed and died July 23, 1996, while on a bicycling
vacation with his family in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota. He was
He had been appointed full professor of chemistry at Columbia on July 1
after eight years on the faculty.
"He was one of the most promising young surface chemists in the country,"
Professor Somorjai said. "He combined scientific talent with an outgoing
personality and charm. He was well-liked and respected by everybody, and we all
miss him tremendously."
The Bent memorial sessions will hear presentations on 49 research
projects, several of which list Professor Bent as a collaborating scientist. Among
the subjects are atomic growth layering, phase changes at metal surfaces and
friction and lubrication properties of surfaces.
"It was Gabor who mentioned to me that he had a sensational graduate
student in physical and surface chemistry," said Kenneth B. Eisenthal, professor
and chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Columbia. "I somehow stored
that in my mind, and in 1988, a year later, when we were looking for a junior
physical chemist, we invited him out and eventually hired him.
"He was a brilliant, outstanding researcher, and one who is greatly missed
in the Department," Professor Eisenthal said.