Dr. Joyce J. Kauf­man

Johns Hopkins re­search sci­en­tist was well known for her work in chem­istry, physics, bio­med­i­cine, su­per­com­put­ers

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen fras­mussen@balt­sun.com

Dr. Joyce J. Kauf­man, a Johns Hopkins Univer­sity re­search sci­en­tist who con­ducted ground­break­ing work in the field of phys­i­cal chem­istry, died Aug. 26 from con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at Mount Si­nai St. Luke’s Hos­pi­tal in New York City. She was 87. The daugh­ter of Robert Ja­cob­son, a shoe sales­man, and Sarah Seldin Ja­cob­son, a cos­me­tol­o­gist, Joyce Ja­cob­son was born in New York City. Af­ter her par­ents divorced, she and her mother moved to her grand­mother’s home in Bal­ti­more’s Ash­bur­ton neigh­bor­hood.

Fam­ily mem­bers say Dr. Kauf­man dis­cov­ered her life’s work when she was 8 years old af­ter read­ing a bi­og­ra­phy of Pol­ish-born sci­en­tist Marie Curie, who won No­bel Prizes in physics and chem­istry.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Robert E. Lee School 49 on Cathe­dral Street, a school for stu­dents con­sid­ered ex­cep­tional, she en­tered For­est Park High School and grad­u­ated in 1945.

“She was not al­lowed to take math her se­nior year be­cause it was not fit­ting for girls to do so,” her daugh­ter, Rabbi Jan Caryl Kauf­man of New York City, wrote in a eu­logy. “She pleaded and was per­mit­ted to take math — trigonom­e­try — but not the se­cond se­mes­ter, which was an­a­lyt­i­cal ge­om­e­try. But she showed them.”

She was ad­mit­ted as a spe­cial stu­dent to the Johns Hopkins Univer­sity in 1945, which at the time only al­lowed eight women who wanted to be sci­en­tists and engi­neers, two of whom grad­u­ated, her daugh­ter said. Hopkins did not grant women sta­tus as reg­u­lar stu­dents un­til 1970.

Dr. Kauf­man was a 1949 Hopkins grad­u­ate with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in chem­istry. She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, she worked as a li­brar­ian, then a re­search chemist at the Army Chem­i­cal Cen­ter at Edge­wood Arse­nal in Har­ford County and later at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground.

She re­turned to Hopkins in 1952 as a re­searcher in the phys­i­cal chem­istry lab over­seen by her for­mer pro­fes­sor, Dr. Wal­ter S. Koski — a chemist who in 1982 be­came her se­cond hus­band. He died in 2011.

Dr. Kauf­man earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in chem­istry in 1959, then her doc­tor­ate in chem­i­cal physics in 1960, both from Hopkins. That year she at­tended the Sum­mer In­sti­tute of the Quan­tum Chem­istry Group at the Univer­sity of Upp­sala in Swe­den, and in 1962 was a vis­it­ing sci­en­tist at the Cen­tre de Mechanique On­du­la­toire Ap­pliquee at the Sor­bonne in Paris.

In 1960, she joined the quan­tum chem­istry group at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. Re­search In­sti­tute for Ad­vanced Stud­ies and even­tu­ally rose to head the group.

She again re­turned to Hopkins in 1969 and joined Dr. Koski’s re­search group as prin­ci­pal re­search sci­en­tist. She was also ap­pointed as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of anes­the- siol­ogy in 1969 at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and in 1976 was ap­pointed as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of plas­tic surgery.

Her work with anes­the­si­ol­ogy evolved af­ter a for­mer teacher, Dr. John Kranz, asked her to con­sult with him on the phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of ad­dic­tive drugs and psy­chotropic medicine.

“He said doc­tors may know how to pre­scribe medicine, but they re­ally don’t un­der­stand how these med­i­ca­tions work,” wrote her daugh­ter in the eu­logy. “Many ad­dic­tive and psy­chotropic [drugs] are used by anes­the­si­ol­o­gists — which is how she got into the anes­the­si­ol­ogy depart­ment.”

A 1972 ar­ti­cle in The Evening Sun dis­cussed her work, not­ing that prior to her re­search, “peo­ple in the phar­ma­co­log­i­cal and med­i­cal field had a very poor un­der­stand­ing of the ac­tion in the body of ... drugs as mor­phine and chlor­pro­mazine.”

Dr. Kauf­man’s wide-rang­ing and ground­break­ing work ranged from phar­ma­col­ogy to the “chem­i­cal physics of en­er­getic com­pounds such as ex­plo­sives and rocket fu­els,” ac­cord­ing to a pro­file of Dr. Kauf­man in the Jewish Women’s Ar­chive.

She em­ployed com­put­ers to pre­dict the be­hav­ior of drug mol­e­cules such as those found in mor­phine, which af­fect the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem.

“Us­ing com­put­ers to cal­cu­late the prop­er­ties of var­i­ous mol­e­cules, she suc­ceeded in pre­dict­ing the chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of many new chem­i­cal com­pounds be­fore they were pro­duced in the lab­o­ra­tory,” re­ported The Evening Sun in 1966.

Dr. Kauf­man’s work earned her many awards. In 1973 the Amer­i­can Chem­i­cal So­ci­ety pre­sented her with its Gar­van Medal for her work in the ap­pli­ca­tion of the­o­ret­i­cal and quan­tum chem­istry.

The Jewish Na­tional Fund named her as one of 10 out­stand­ing women in Mary­land in 1974, and she was elected a cor­re­spond­ing mem­ber of the Academie Europeenne des Sciences, des Arts et des Let­tres in1981. She was named une dame cheva­liere of France in 1969.

The for­mer Mount Washington and Tow­son res­i­dent was the au­thor of more than 300 pub­li­ca­tions.

She ended her ca­reer in 1991 af­ter suf­fer­ing a mas­sive stroke and moved to New York five years ago to live with her daugh­ter.

“Work had al­ways been her hobby but she en­joyed cul­tural things such as the the­ater, opera, bal­let and con­certs. She was also a world trav­eler,” her daugh­ter said.

She was a for­mer mem­ber of the Beth Tfiloh Con­gre­ga­tion.

Ser­vices were held at Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc. in Pikesville on Aug. 28.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ter, she is sur­vived by a step­brother, Howard Deutch of Mount Washington. An ear­lier mar­riage to Stan­ley Kauf­man ended in di­vorce. Dr. Joyce J. Kauf­man was ap­pointed as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of plas­tic surgery in 1976.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.