Kurt Mislow, Hugh Stott Taylor Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Princeton University and a pioneer in the theory of modern stereochemistry, died on October 5th, 2017. He was 94.
Prof. Mislow was born in Berlin, Germany, on June 5, 1923. With the rapid rise of National Socialism in Germany, his family moved first to Milan in 1936, then to London in 1938. In September 1940, as the Luftwaffe began its bombing raids on London and just as Mislow was about to enter Cambridge University, the crucial affidavit arrived that allowed his family to immigrate to America, where they settled in Manhattan.
Mislow graduated from Tulane University (B.S., 1944) and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 1947 at the California Institute of Technology under the direction of Linus Pauling. He joined the faculty of New York University, where he rose through the ranks to Professor. In 1964 he was invited to Princeton University as the first incumbent of the Hugh Stott Taylor Chair of Chemistry, and was Chairman of the Chemistry Department from 1968 to 1974.
Stereochemistry is a subject that analyzes the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms and molecules in space. It is a field fundamental to many scientific disciplines, such as physics, biochemistry, genetics, pharmaceuticals, and nanotechnology. Chirality, is a term derived from the Greek word for handedness. An object is chiral if and only if it is not superimposable on its mirror image. Chirality is strikingly obvious in our daily lives. Thus, while our right and left hands are symmetrical, they are not superimposable; your right hand cannot be fitted into your left glove.
The principal theme of Kurt Mislow’s research was the introduction of the theoretical concepts of symmetry and chirality into the field of stereochemistry; he was able to explain how symmetry at the molecular level could determine chemical interactions at the macroscopic level.
In order to to describe the complexity of molecular structures, he created a new, precise, insightful lexicon based on topicity that is now standard in the field. He and his students also designed and synthesized the complex organic molecules that validated his symmetry-based predictions. Indeed, many of the chiral species that are used to prepare enantiopure pharmaceuticals today, rely on the classes of molecules that Mislow’s group first described and prepared in his laboratory.
Mislow introduced group theory to clarify the stereochemical relationships both between molecules as well as within molecules. He recognized the power of graph theory to examine the kinetic activity of fascinating mobile machines of nanotechnology such as molecular gears and propellers.
When he became an Emeritus Professor, he devoted his time more fully to topology, also termed “rubber sheet geometry”, creating a rigorous quantitative analysis of deformable chiral molecules such as the variety knots found in proteins and the molecular links found in DNA. He proposed a unique relationship between the form and function of these entwined molecular superstructures and the origins of chirality.
Prof. Mislow maintained a cautious concern regarding the interaction of social and public policies and the scientific enterprise. In 1988, he taught a graduate course “Social Responsibilities of Scientists” that addressed the moral questions of chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry, genetic engineering, and other salient topics, recognizing that science is value laden and has the capacity for great harm as well as great benefit.
Mislow was a committed, passionate, much loved and respected teacher of both undergraduates and graduate students. In addition to being a premier scientist, he was a humanist, with broad and probing interests in philosophy, history, neuroscience, literature, and music.
Kurt Mislow was a Sloan Fellow (1959-63) and was awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships: one, in 1956, at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich and another, in 1974, at the University of Cambridge, where he was also an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College. He received honorary doctorates from the Free University of Brussels, Tulane University, the University of Uppsala, Düsseldorf, and Zürich.
He was awarded the Solvay Medal from the Free University of Brussels (1972), received the American Chemical Society’s James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry (1975), the CCNY Scientific Achievement Award Medal (1988), the William H. Nichols Medal (1987), the Tulane University Sesquicentennial Medal, (1997), and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1995). He was the first recipient of the Prelog Medal (1986), and was awarded the Chirality Gold Medal in 1993.
Mislow was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1972, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1980, and a foreign Member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 1999. He was Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology in 1990, 1991, and 1994, and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from that institution in 1990. Mislow has held numerous Visiting professorships and honorary lectureships here and abroad, and has served on the editorial advisory boards of many noted scientific journals.
He authored or coauthored over 350 articles in professional journals and wrote the classic book, Introduction to Stereochemistry  that was so lucid and advanced in the explanation of the subject that, 50 years later, it is still used in teaching and referenced in major research publications.
Professor Mislow is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, Dr. Jacqueline Mislow. He was predeceased by their son, John Mislow, M.D., Ph.D., Princeton Class of ’92, a neurosurgeon at Brigham Hospital in Boston. He is survived by John’s two sons, Max and John. He is also survived by Christopher Mislow, Princeton Class of ’74, an attorney in Charlottesville, Va., his son from a former marriage.
Margaret Wister Frantz Wellington
Margaret Wister Frantz Wellington, 93, of Dartmouth, Mass. passed away on October 12, 2017 at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Daughter of the late Samuel and Sarah Frantz, she was born on December 19, 1923 in Paris, France, and was raised in Princeton, N.J. During World War II, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps and had the honor of announcing the end of the war to her fellow Marines at her base at El Toro in Orange County, Calif.
She married Jack Meyers from Savannah, Ga. and raised her four children in Princeton. She was an avid volunteer, and worked for many years with Meals on Wheels and Family Born. Throughout her life, she was a voracious reader, loved opera and classical music, and enjoyed bird watching and traveling the world. She later married Thomas Wellington, who predeceased her. In 2016 she moved to Dartmouth to be closer to her family.
Her surviving family includes John Myers of Arcata, Calif.; Sarah Myers of Dartmouth; Fairlie Myers of Waltham, Mass.; stepchildren: Maggie, Peter, Sarah, and Irene Wellington; five grandchildren: Ben Myers, Caroline Thornton, Isabelle Lanagan, Jane Myers, and Andrew Myers; four great-grandchildren: Ian Myers, Kyra Myers, Miranda Myers, and Alice Lanagan; a sister Sarah Frantz Latimer; a niece, Miranda Swift and her husband, Tom; and daughter-in-law Cheryl Dellecese. She was predeceased by her son, Thomas Myers; her sister, Katherine Mayo; and her longtime companion Bill Stoltzfus.
There will be a memorial gathering for a celebration of her life at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ on the afternoon of December 2. Time still to be determined.
Stacy Terhune Lorenceau
Stacy Terhune Lorenceau, the eldest daughter of Fleury Mackie and Jack Valdes, died on October 6th in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Stacy was born in New York City in 1949, and the young family moved to Princeton in 1951. She attended Miss Fines School, on the site that later became Borough Hall. Stacy attended the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., for her high school years, and matriculated at the University of Denver for two years. She also spent a semester in Paris where she worked to perfect her French, and studied culture. After college she moved to the West Village in New York City, rooming with Tene Otis, a Princeton friend. There she worked for an advertising agency.
At her cousin’s wedding in Paris in 1974, she became reacquainted with Francois Lorenceau, who was to eventually become a fourth generation gallery dealer at the Paris Gallery of Brame — Lorenceau. The two married in Vichy, France in the summer of 1976. In 1983, after her three sons were born, the family moved to Cap d’Ail on the southern coast of France, where Stacy experienced the happiest time of her marriage with her young family. In 1991 they returned to Paris, to a more traditional life.
In 1998, after the couple divorced, Stacy returned to the U.S. where she rekindled the relationship with her first love from college, Gary Garratt an engineer from the West Coast. She moved to San Martin, California with Gary where the couple enjoyed traveling in the jet airplane that Gary had built.
In 2003, it became apparent that Stacy was having cognitive problems. Her youngest sister Kelly Valdes stepped in to bring her to the horse farm that she managed in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Stacy was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, a condition she lived with for more than 12 years, under the care and oversight of her devoted sister.
Stacy was stylish and charismatic, with a firecracker personality. She had a quick wit and musical sense that she would often put to use writing original humorous songs for social occasions. She was fun-loving, and good humored to the end. Above all, she adored her three sons — Antoine, Olivier, and Thomas, who survive her.
She is also survived by her mother Fleury Mackie, her sisters Midge and Kelly Valdes, a granddaughter Edwina Lorenceau, her step-siblings Douglas Mackie of Princeton, David Mackie of Hopewell, and Cynthia Mackie of Maryland.
Wayne Virginia Goss Douglas
May 27, 1935 — October 16, 2017
Wayne Virginia Goss Douglas died peacefully, surrounded by her children, in Narragansett, R.I. on October 16, 2017 of complications from lung cancer. She was 82 years old.
Born in Waterbury, Conn., Wayne was the second of four children born to Richard Wayne Goss and Virginia Johnston Goss.
As a girl, she attended St. Margaret’s School in Waterbury, then Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Md. During many of these years, she also attended Camp Wohelo in South Casco, Maine, where she learned woodcraft skills and the campfire songs that she would later sing with her daughters and granddaughters.
Wayne graduated from Vassar College in 1956 with a B.A. in English. Shortly thereafter, she was married to Archibald Douglas III, with whom she enjoyed a 57-year adventure.
As a young bride, Wayne lived first in Middlebury, Conn., then Gates Mills, Ohio and Iron Mountain, Mich., before settling in Louisville, Ky. in late 1960. Wayne flourished in Louisville, joining the Junior League, volunteering with Planned Parenthood, and serving on the board of the Louisville Ballet. Among bright memories were late-night Christmas Eve parties held at the Douglas house, with dancers leaping to and fro, spreading tinsel, far from their own homes and families, but included in Wayne’s.
Reflective and smart, Wayne also loved Louisville’s social life. The River Valley Club, the Louisville Country Club, the church choir at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church — these were all happy places for her, filled with friends, tennis, music, good works, and always flowers. She devoted particular attention to her gardens – flower, vegetable, and Japanese — at Quarry Hill, overlooking the Ohio River. But her love of nature and the outdoors was also political. She served as president of Strategies for Environmental Control in 1975-1976.
In 1976, Wayne and Archie moved to Lawrence Township, N.J., and there she took on the challenge of Willowgate Farm, a centuries-old estate that had been well-maintained but which responded even more to her visionary touch. During these years, Wayne earned a B.S. in Geology as well as a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, both from Rutgers University. This led to a successful and respected, albeit low-key, practice as a landscape designer. As much as Wayne loved plants and flowers, it developed that her real passion — and her great strength — was design. She became passionate about ornamental grasses, berms, and the like. Her designs curved and swayed, reflecting the natural rhythms of the sites on which she worked. At the same time, Wayne’s skill drew the attention of local leaders, and she was appointed to a seat on the Lawrence Planning Commission, where she served for several enlightening years. She also was a regular member of Trinity Church in Princeton, drawn to its progressive philosophy and outreach programs.
Wayne and Archie retired to Narragansett in December 1999. It had long been a summer destination, but now it was full-time. Reunited with lifelong friends, she set to work making Pine Lodge a home. As usual, a memorable flower garden was one of the results of that effort, with children, grandchildren, and beloved friends coming and going to the house throughout each year. Golf and paddle tennis at Pt. Judith Country Club were a steady attraction, and summers turned around the Dunes Club and friends and family there. Winters in South Carolina at Yeamans Hall, along with long-dreamed-of travel became more the norm. And when Archie’s health declined, Wayne leaned in, stepped up, and pressed on. She worked the doctors, drove the car, and ran the show. After Archie’s death in March 2013, she slowed down briefly. But work on the Narragansett Historical Commission, loyal friends who included her in bridge and other pastimes, and a commitment to St. Peter’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church provided purpose and activity. She grew used to a more independent life.
Wayne’s illness came with surprising speed, but she faced it head-on with acceptance and grace. On October 2, 2017, the Narragansett Town Council extended its “appreciation and thanks” to Wayne for her “distinguished service to the community.” It was a fitting and appropriate acknowledgement of service.
She is survived by a sister, Garril Goss Page, and a brother, Porter Johnston Goss (and predeceased by her brother, Richard Wayne Goss II), by four children — Archibald Douglas IV, Edith Wayne (Daisy) Douglas, Eliza Douglas McErlean, and Deirdre Hunt Douglas — and eight grandchildren. The classic matriarch, she showed us the way to live. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. And when we think of her, we will hear her advice: “Go in the ocean. The ocean will fix it.”
A service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 28, at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea, Narragansett, R.I. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to South County Hospital Cancer Center, Animal Rescue League of South County, or St. Peter’s by-the-Sea. For guest book and condolences, averystortifuneralhome.com.