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Mario E. Bauer

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Los Angeles



After a long illness, Mario Baur passed away on December 14, 2003 at the age of 69. Mario was born in Indianapolis on August 23, 1934. His primary and secondary schooling was in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago and received an A.B. in liberal arts with honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1953; he was awarded an M.S. in chemistry from Chicago in 1955. After receiving a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship, he pursued studies in physical chemistry at MIT, completing a Ph.D. in three years. Mario’s graduate research with Walter Stockmayer was concerned with experimental studies of the chain dynamics of polymers. In 1959, Mario was the recipient of an NSF post-doctoral fellowship, and undertook research in statistical mechanics with Nico van Kampen at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He continued post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Diego from 1961 to 1962, where he worked with Joseph E. Mayer.

In 1962, Mario joined the faculty at UCLA as an assistant professor of chemistry and undertook a broad program of research. His theoretical interests included irreversible thermodynamics, the statistical mechanics of equilibrium polymer systems, solid-state and biopolymer chemical physics, and the motional states of molecules in solids. At the same time, he carried out experimental studies on the liquid sulfur system and used dielectric measurement techniques to study the structures of charge transfer complexes in liquid solutions. Starting in the middle 70s, Mario reoriented his research to concentrate on interdisciplinary research at the boundary between physical chemistry, earth sciences, and environmental chemistry. Again, his interests were very broad – from the biogeochemistry of volatiles in Earth environment to the physiological adaptations of biota to the chemical environment of the terrestrial atmosphere.

Mario was a dedicated and highly effective teacher. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching in 1966 and the departmental Hansen-Dow Teaching Award in 1993. Despite suffering from a debilitating illness for the past 3 1/2 years, Mario continued to teach.

His commitment to service was also very strong. Over a period of 30 years he served as a member and chair of numerous Senate committees, including the Teaching, Educational Development, Faculty Welfare, Undergraduate Admissions and Executive Committees. He was elected to three terms in the Legislative Assembly.

Mario was a scholar of great intellect. He had a profound knowledge of science, and all the many things that interested him – polymers, statistical physics, quantum mechanics, environmental science, and the Chicago Cubs. His breadth of interests is evident from the 100 doctoral committees on which he sat in Chemistry, Engineering, Earth and Space Sciences, Environmental Science and Engineering, Mathematics and Physics, and from his work as a highly regarded expert witness in nearly 150 diverse legal cases.

Conversations with Mario could revolve around fundamental questions in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, the teaching of freshman chemistry, environmental problems, local, national and world politics, history, camping or the writing of the verses that accompany gifts given each year at the Dutch Sinterklaas holiday. He could speak knowledgeably about almost everything and did so with an acerbic wit and a tendency toward an apocalyptic view of the future.

Mario leaves his wife Ida and four children, Matthew, Kim, Joshua and Saskia. His first wife, Erna and his son Nico died earlier.


Charles M. Knobler

Robert L. Scott