Richard (Dick) Stein, 95, passed away June 21, 2021. He joined the Department of Chemistry in 1950 and was central to the development of polymer science research and the creation of the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. Over the course of his career Stein mentored more than 140 master’s and doctoral candidates.
Stein was a pioneer, wanting to leave the world a better place, and his post-retirement focus was global climate change. He established the Richard and Judy Stein Endowed Fund for Sustainability and Renewable Energy, the first fund on campus to support the university’s efforts on sustainability.
Stein developed the university’s first advanced physical chemistry courses in quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and polymer science, and initiated graduate research in the study of the structure-property relationships of polymers using light and particle scattering.
He is also credited with revolutionizing research funding management at the campus in the 1950s. Grant dollars from federal agencies went directly to the state treasury, not the Amherst campus. With Dean of Science Charles Alexander, Stein helped pass a bill that allowed research money to come directly to the campus.
Stein became Commonwealth Professor, and in 1961 he founded both the Polymer Research Institute and the Research Computing Center. In 1980, the chemistry department awarded him the Charles A. Goessmann Chair in Chemistry and provided three new professorial positions in polymer science and engineering. In the 1990s he was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
Memorial services with be held in Amherst, MA at the UMass Campus Center (Marriot Center – 11th Floor) on July 8, 2021.