In Memoriam

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Porter Raymond Ryason ’50

A picture of Ray Ryason

Porter Raymond Ryason ’50, November 19, 2005, in Fairfax, California. Ray received a BA in chemistry from Reed, and continued his studies in chemistry at Harvard, earning an MA in 1951 and a PhD in 1954. He married Mary E. Waterbury ’52; they had four children, and later divorced. Ray’s 50-year career as a physical chemist was focused primarily at the Chevron Research and Technology Company (CRTC) in Richmond, California, with research in molecular spectroscopy, combustion, catalysis, hydrocarbon oxidation, and tribology (friction, wear, and lubrication). Ray worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena from 1973 to 1978. Again at Chevron, he built an inelastic electron tunneling spectrometer to screen additives. For this accomplishment, he received the Captain Alfred E. Hunt Award at the annual meeting of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers in 1995. From 1986 to 1997, he was company tribologist at Chevron, and earned the CRTC Fellow—the highest title on the technical staff. In retirement, he formed his own company, Tamalpais Tribology, continued his research for Chevron, published related materials, and traveled to tribochemical conferences around the world. Additionally, he was passionate about family, world issues, politics, and the environment. For his 50th class reunion, Ray wrote that the focus on scientific fundamentals learned at Reed subsequently enabled him to deal with the several shifts in emphasis in the technical work required for his career. Survivors include his children, four grandchildren, and a sister and brother.

Appeared in Reed magazine: February 2006

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