Fred W. McLafferty, Professor Emeritus, dies at 98

January 4, 2022

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is saddened to note the passing of Dr. Fred W. McLafferty, the Peter J. W. Debye Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Cornell University. Fred had a remarkable impact on the field of Chemistry, on our department, and on the lives of those with whom he interacted.

Fred obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Cornell in 1950 and, after post-doctoral work at the University of Iowa, began his pioneering work in mass spectrometry with the Dow Chemical Company. He returned to Cornell in 1968 as a member of the faculty. Fred’s numerous contributions to the field of chemistry include the development of the first Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) with Roland Gohlke, the description of a complex chemical rearrangement now known as the “McLafferty Rearrangement,” the characterization of large protein macromolecules by mass spectrometry, and the co-authoring and editing of over 500 articles, five books, and a widely-adopted registry of mass spectral data. A true lion of chemistry, Fred revolutionized the field and inspired scholarship for peers and students alike.

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology will hold a symposium in honor of Fred, when conditions permit.

Click here to read the full obituary for Professor Emeritus Fred W. McLafferty.

Professor Emeritus Fred McLafferty