Trofimenko Photo

Remembering Jerry Trofimenko

Dr. Swiatoslaw ‘Jerry’ Trofimenko, born in Lviv, Ukraine, passed away on Monday, February 26, 2007 at the age of 75. He was the son of the late Clement Trofimenko, art collector and painter, and his late mother, Lidia, whom he lost at the age of twelve during WWII.

He came to the United States on a scholarship to Wesleyan University (CT). After receiving his Ph.D. from Northwestern and completing postdoctoral studies at Columbia, he joined the Central Research Department of DuPont in 1959.

While at DuPont, he discovered and developed the polypyrazolylborate family of ligands, which he named Scorpionates. After his retirement from DuPont in 1996, he joined Dr. Klaus Theopold’s research group as a Visiting Scholar. At the 2003 ACS meeting in New Orleans, he was honored with a symposium entitled: “Scorpionate Ligands – Thirty-Five Years Later,” which also occasioned a feature article in C&E News.
Throughout his career, Dr. Trofimenko lectured at Universities and scientific institutions in the United States and abroad, published over 150 scientific articles and was granted 36 patents. His book on Scorpionates was published in 1999. His generosity in providing samples of the ligands he created to colleagues around the world became the stuff of legend.

Besides being a passionate synthetic chemist, he was a prizewinning chess player, accomplished pianist, exhibited artist, avid fisherman, varsity letter holder in soccer and fluent in seven languages. Dr. Trofimenko leaves his wife Martha, daughter Zoya and her husband Christopher, and grandchildren Lydia and Edward.

To honor Dr. Trofimenko’s memory, our Department has established the ‘Trofimenko Memorial Prize’, to be awarded annually to a graduate student for creative inorganic synthesis. Contributions to the endowment of this award may be sent to the Department Chair.