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Buffalo's Nobel Laureate dies

Michael Mandolfo, Forest Productions and Photography, Inc.
Dr. Herbert Hauptman

Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Hauptman has died.

Dr. Hauptman died at the age of 94 as a result of natural causes. Hauptman was an American mathematician and crystallographer.  He was best known for receiving the Nobel Price in Chemistry in 1985 for developing mathematical methods for deducing the molecular structure of chemical compounds.

“The name of Dr. Herbert Hauptman graces The Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute not only because his Nobel-prize scientific achievements have uplifted HWI, but also because his humanitarian and educational efforts embody all the human elements that an institution can aspire to”, said HWI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ed Lattman.

Hauptman was born in New York City. His interest in science and mathematics were nurtured at Townsend Harris High School. He went onto the City College of New York where he graduated in 1937. That is where he was a classmate with Jerome Karle with whom he won the Nobel Prize. Hauptman earned his master’s degree in mathematics at Columbia University in 1939.

In February of 2007 as Dr. Hauptman approached his 90th birthday, WBFO’S Eileen Buckley had the opportunity to met with Hauptman at his research center, the HWI, for a discussion about the work he continued to conduct and his healthy life style. Eileen asked him what his secret was to maintaining his health and work at the age of 90.

“I’m not sure that I have a secret. From the moment that I can remember, which was way back when I was a kid, certainly before I was ten, I was interested in mathematics and science and maintained that every since. Now this is an area where you have to use your brain, there is no doubt about it, and I have done that for almost 90 years now,” said Hauptman.

Hauptman is survived by his wife, Edith, their daughters Barbara Hauptman and Carol Fullerton, Ph.D., and his brother Robert.  A memorial service will be held at HWI at a date to be determined.

In 2007, WBFO News asked Hauptman how he would like to be remembered.

"Well I would like to be remembered as believing that science is one of the most important activities which humans can be involved in," said Hauptman in a 2007 interview.  You can click the above audio to listen to the February 2007 interview with Dr. Herbert Hauptman as he turned 90.