He was raised in Princeton, where his father, Louis, was a friend of Albert Einstein. Dave told of sitting in his sandbox with Einstein, “a nice man with white hair,” while Einstein peppered him with questions. He credited his father and Einstein for fostering his critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Dave majored in chemistry, participated in the Band, and was IAA chairman of Stevenson Hall. His roommate George Handzo remembers Dave as an inveterate punster and purveyor of terrible jokes, great qualities for helping to write Tiger Band halftime shows.
Heading to Wilmington in 1973 with his newly minted Harvard Ph.D. in chemistry, Dave began a 30-year career with DuPont, where he was a mentor to many young scientists. His work in computers was key to developing cybersecurity as a discipline, and he had 38 patents in fields ranging from agricultural chemistry to solid-state physics and cold-chain technology. In his “retirement,” Dave was a founder of numerous technology companies and served concurrently on law school, medical school, and business school faculties.
Ever loyal to Princeton, Dave was a longtime ASC volunteer and served a term as class treasurer. He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Karen; his children, Jacob, Nina, Rae, and Ali; his grandson, Hayden; and his brother, Martin Pensak ’78. The Class of ’69 joins them in mourning the passing of this brilliant polymath and generator of ideas.