Dr. N.L. Allinger Obituary
Norman L. Allinger or “Lou,” as he was known to his friends, was born on April 6, 1928, in Alameda, California. From the age of nine on he was always employed in some fashion, first at the age of nine selling magazines and newspapers, then later as an ice-man, a part-time mail carrier, an apricot-picker, a butcher’s apprentice, and a warehouseman, loading tin cans onto railway cars.
As a boy and then as a teenager Dr. Allinger was a member of the local Boy Scout troupe in Alameda, California. A lifetime Life Scout, he continued to appreciate and support the organization throughout his life.
Dr. Allinger enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. He received an honorable discharge after his term of enlistment and used the GI Bill to attend the University of California in Berkeley.
He received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1951. Dr. Allinger received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, under the direction of Nobelist Donald Cram, in 1954. He then moved to Harvard University for one year of postdoctoral research with Paul Bartlett. He was on the faculty at Wayne State University (1956-1969) before joining the University of Georgia as Research Professor. He was the first Editor of the Journal of Computational Chemistry, serving in that capacity from 1980 through 2001. Professor Allinger is honored for his pioneering work in computational chemistry, his seminal contributions to the development of the molecular mechanics series of force fields, their widespread application to the fundamental understanding of molecular structure and energetics, and their implementation as a significant tool for practicing chemists. He is the senior author of the MM2, MM3, and MM4 molecular mechanics software packages.
He received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1958), the ACS Herty Medal (1982), the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1988), the ACS James Flack Norris Award (1989), the ACS Florida Award (1993), the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists (1994), the American Chemical Society Computers in Chemistry Award (1996), and the Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (1996). Professor Allinger was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1991, and in 2002 he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute. Professor Allinger is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world. His 1977 paper on the MM2 method has been cited 4172 times and his 1989 MM3 paper 2702 times.
In addition to his work in the field of chemistry, Dr. Allinger was a longtime and well-respected professional musician who played both the piano and the tenor banjo and performed in multiple bands in and around Los Angeles, Detroit, and San Francisco. His preferred style of music was New Orleans Jazz, and he appears on two albums with a band called The Sundown Stompers. He retired from playing music in 2008. He was also a devoted philatelist with a very large collection specializing in used (canceled) stamps from all over the world. Dr. Allinger maintained a lifetime love of baseball and became a staunch Atlanta Braves fan once he had moved his family to Georgia.
Dr. Allinger is survived by his wife of twenty-eight years, Irene; three of his four children, Alan, Ilene, and James (“Gus”); his three step-children, Maritza, Vilma, and Aida; nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
His work literally changed the world, as he was instrumental in the development of the field of Computational Chemistry. Dr. Allinger was much beloved and is already sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Dr. Allinger’s name to the Boy Scouts of America.
Lord and Stephens, East, 4355 Lexington Road, Athens, GA 30605 is in charge of arrangements.
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