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Baltimore-Washington Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy

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June Historical Events in Spectroscopy by Leopold May, Catholic University

Baltimore-Washington Section loses a pioneer - Al DiLeonardi.


Albert A. DiLeonardi suffered a fatal heart attack in January, 1999, five days short of his 79th birthday. Al was one of the founding members of the Baltimore-Washington Spectroscopy Society in 1954. He is shown in the photograph on the right with other founding members of the local SAS section at the 25th anniversary celebration in September of 1983. As a graduate of Loyola College, he provided invaluable help in persuading the college hierarchy to give the young society gratis use of the chemistry lecture room for its initial evening meetings. Today that society is the Baltimore-Washington Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Over the years, Al served on the SAS Executive Committee and various other committees. He continued to "beat the bushes" for new members and rarely missed a meeting. Al is shown in the photograph at the left with Marvin Margoshes (left) at the First National Meeting of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, held in College Park, Maryland, in 1962.

Al received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland in 1943. He pursued postgraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Here he successfully complete courses in spectrographic analysis, nonferrous metallurgy, corrosion of metals, physical metallurgical testing, and X-ray fluorescence (1943-1950). His career began at Revere Copper and Brass in Baltimore as a chemist responsible for chemical analysis and physical and metallurgical testing. By 1954, he achieved the position of Chief Chemist-Chief Spectrographer.

With the end of World War II and war plants closing, Al moved briefly to the Engineering Research and Development Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as a Physical Chemist and Spectroscopist. The commute to Virginia ended with a position as Laboratory Supervisor at Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation in Halethorpe, Maryland. Here his responsibilities were the chemical, spectrographic, and physical testing laboratories, plus metallurgical and sonic testing. He traveled to various Kaiser plants to ensure uniform testing at all locations.

After three years at Kaiser, the bug bit to "go West" -- to Lockheed Aircraft Missile and Space Systems Division in Sunnyvale, California, where he worked as a Senior Scientist. This venture became, in four months, a "turn around", when word was out that the Kennescott Refining Corporation was building a plant in Anne Arundal County, Maryland, Al's neighborhood. He began there as a Spectrographer in 1977 and retired as Chief Spectroscopist. He set up the spectrographic, metallurgical, and X-ray fluorescence laboratories, in addition to managing analytical chemical procedures. While at Kennecott, he was sent to Enami-Las Ventanca Copper Refining in Chile, and Kennecott Ray Mines Division to participate in setting up spectrographic laboratories at each plant.

Al was a very active member in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) committee E2. He received the B.F. Scribner Award in 1975 for his "outstanding contributions on behalf of the committee in promoting analytical standardization in our nations copper industry." The presentation was made at a meeting of E2 in the Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He also served as ASTM's liaison to the National Bureau of Standards, to develop copper Standard Reference Materials needed for the copper industry. He was also a member of ASTM Committee E3, Chemical Analysis of Materials, and a member of the American Chemical Society. He authored a number of technical writings and is listed in the "Who's Who in the East", 12th Edition.

Al is survived by his wife of 54 years, Helen (Zabetakis); a son, Vincent; and five daughters: Katherine Panco, Julia Lillers, Jane Adamitsch, Joan Goudounis, and Nancy Toblsman; as well as three grandsons and two granddaughters.

Prepared by Andy Rekus

Your Baltimore-Washington Section Officers for 1998-1999:

Chair: Diana Ciurczak

Chair-elect: Larry Pollack, SAIC, 703-333-5548. larryp@saic-cvr.com

Secretary: Dave Hill, USDA, 301-504-8282, hill@307.bhnrc.usda.gov

Treasurer: Jeb Taylor

Delegates: Scott Baker, USDA and Mike Epstein, Hood College

Newsletter Editor: Kris Patterson

Science Fair and Student Award Committee: Bob Koons

I.L. Barnes Award: John Moody

Web page editor: Mike Epstein

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Visit our local section sponsor WWW pages:

The Perkin-Elmer Corporation - Analytical Instruments Division



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Past Issues of the Baltimore-Washington Section Newsletter (including Historical Events in Chemistry for those months)

March Section Newsletter

April-May Section Newsletter

Spectrum Go to the National SAS Home Page

For more information concerning Baltimore-Washington Section activities, email Diana Ciurczak dianac@erols.com

Page prepared by: Mike Epstein
Last Modified: June 21, 1999