In memoriam: Warren Reynolds


Professor Emeritus Warren L. Reynolds died on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. Services will be conducted, Wednesday, Nov. 19, at Hillside Chapel, 2600 19th Avenue NE, Minneapolis. Visitation is at noon, and the non-denominational service will be at 1 p.m. An obituary will be published in the, Sunday, Nov. 16, Star Tribune.

Warren began his teaching career at the University of Minnesota in 1954, working for two years as an instructor before becoming an assistant professor in 1956. He served as professor of inorganic chemistry, committed to teaching and research for 37 years, until his retirement in 1991.

Warren would have celebrated his 94th birthday this month. He was born on Nov. 29, 1920, in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan. He contributed more than four years to his country by serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He earned his bachelor’s and master degrees from the University of British Columbia in 1949 and 1950, respectively. He earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 1955, under the tutelage of Professor I.M. Kolthoff.

Warren’s research was in many areas of transition metal chemistry with a particular interest in the mechanisms of electron transfer. He contributed substantially to the understanding of ligand substitution reactions on octahedral complexes. He was author or co-author of more than 100 research publications, and was an adviser to a number of undergraduate, graduate researches, and post-doctoral fellow. He wrote a book with the late-Professor Emeritus Rufus Lumry on electron transfer reactions, Mechanisms of Electron Transfer, which was published in 1966. It included information on electron-transfer reactions, metal ion-solvent bond energies, electron-transfer reactions in homogeneous solutions, energy surfaces, non-adiabatic electron transfer, adiabatic electron transfer, heterogeneous electron-transfer reactions, and nuclear tunneling.

He was known as an excellent teacher of inorganic chemistry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and he regularly taught introductory courses in general and analytical chemistry. The quality of his teaching was recognized in 1984, when he was chosen to be one of the developers of what was then the Institute of Technology’s honors chemistry program for top freshmen. After his retirement, he kept busy with family, travel, bridge and gardening, and filled his available time with research into the solvation of alkali ions.