Obituary: Jacob Schaefer, professor emeritus of chemistry in arts and sciences, 83 years old – The Source

Jacob Schaefer III, Charles Allen Thomas Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died June 27, 2022 in St. Louis. Schaefer was one of the world’s experts in solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). He was 83 years old.


Schaefer was born in San Francisco and lived in Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon as a child. He attended high school in Lakewood, Ohio. Schaefer earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1960 and his doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1964.

Schaefer joined Monsanto as a research scientist in 1964 and worked on determining the microstructure of copolymers using solution-state NMR.

He joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 1986. Schaefer’s research specialty was high-resolution solid-state NMR, a method that offers a powerful atomic-level probe of the structure and dynamics of insoluble biological and synthetic chemical compounds.

He was the co-inventor of the cross-polarized magic-angle rotation and rotational-echo double resonance techniques, both of which have become standard methods used worldwide.

The Schaefer Research Program at the University of Washington made contributions to biology and polymer science through solid-state NMR measurements on large, heterogeneous materials that were not suitable for diffraction or solution-state NMR measurements. Schaefer is the author of more than 300 scientific publications during his career.

“Jake was driven by scientific discovery and exploration. He had scientific prowess and interests that went far beyond those directly related to his research,” said Richard Loomis, professor of chemistry in Arts and Sciences. Jake has also spent a lot of time working with beginning teachers; he immersed himself deeply in my research early in my career, and the insights, feedback and support he gave me were instrumental. in my successes. There is no doubt that Jake has made us – WashU and the chemistry department – ​​a better place.

Schaefer is survived by his wife Diana Dickes, his three children (Jill Myers and Jacob IV and Thomas Schaefer) and five grandchildren (Sarah, Emily and Matthew Schaefer and Jacob V and Ian Myers), and his first wife, Jane Schaefer .

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