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Frederick A. Matsen Jr. *41

Published in Jan. 24, 2007, issue

Frederick A. Matsen Jr., emeritus professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Texas at Austin, died May 30, 2006. He was 92.

Born in Racine, Wis., he earned a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin in 1937and completed a Ph.D. in chemistry at Princeton in 1941. In 1942, he moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught and did research for more than 50 years. He initiated an undergraduate honors course in chemistry, teaching graduate-level quantum chemistry to entering freshmen for more than 40 years. In 1988, a Regents Lectureship in Theories of Matter was endowed in his honor.

Matsen wrote more than 200 papers and authored or co-authored six books. In 1950 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for study at Oxford, and in 1961 he received a National Science Foundation Fellowship to the Poincaré Institute in Paris.

Along with tennis, mountain climbing, and skiing, he was interested in classical music, and his family wrote that he always appreciated the privilege and high intellectual adventure of being a scientist.

Matsen’s wife of 68 years, Cecelia, preceded him in death by five months. He is survived by two children and three grandchildren.

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