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T.Z. Chu - In Memoriam, A Friend of Purdue Chemistry


Writer(s): Peter Kissinger


T.Z. was a pioneer in the development of commercial analytical instrumentation taking advantage of the post WWII development of modern electronics. He was a close friend of the Department with a special relationship with Jonathan Amy and Bill Baitinger in the very early days of gas chromatography which led him from Wilkins Instruments to Varian Associates to Finnigan Instruments and then to Thermo Instrument Systems.

He was a CEO of Finnigan, a pioneer in bringing mass spectrometry into a more user friendly form that we know today.   T.Z. worked with and inspired many in the Analytical Division throughout his career.  He was truly a renaissance man who loved the arts, chemistry, the USA, and business strategy. His early life in the turmoil that was Asia in the '30s and '40s was indeed remarkable from Shanghai, to Mumbai, to the Himalayas, to Tangier to UC Berkeley. There could be a movie, but in any case our Department benefitted enormously from knowing and learning from T.Z.   Behind the scenes, better measurements catalyze better science.