Remembering Morton Raban
Retired WSU chemistry professor Morton Raban died on Feb. 12, 2020. He was 79. A native of St. Louis, Raban received a bachelor of arts from Harvard University in 1962, followed by a Ph.D. in organic chemistry under the guidance of Professor Kurt Mislow from Princeton University in 1967. He joined Wayne State University as an assistant professor in 1967 and became professor of chemistry here in 1974. Raban published more than 100 papers and patents on stereochemical and chiroptical properties of organic molecules. Early in his career, he coauthored with Mislow two landmark chapters in the book series Topics in Stereochemistry on “Stereoisomeric Relationships of Groups in Molecules” and “Modern Methods for the Determination of Optical Purity.”
Throughout his career, Raban was influential in developing the stereochemical concepts of enantiomeric and diastereotopic protons and the advancement of NMR techniques to study stereochemistry. His work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Raban retired from Wayne State in 2008. He was an aficionado of opera and fine arts. His docent tours were so popular that he was named a volunteer of the year by the Detroit Institute of Arts. He was also very active as a Harvard alumnus and was a board member of the Harvard Club. He is survived by his wife, Diane Raban; two children; two stepchildren; and two grandchildren. - By Carl Johnson and Robert Bach