Dr. Rajendra (Raj) Rathore, Pfletschinger Habermann Professor of Organic Chemistry, departed this world on February 16, 2018, after a short but strenuous battle with pulmonary disease. Dr. Rathore was a simple person who made his way into the hearts of everyone who knew him. His greatest joy was his three girls: his wife, Rajni, and his two daughters, Richa and Risha. Raj was well known for the enormous energy that he put into his passions: taking care of his family, cooking elaborate meals and hosting large parties, and conducting cutting edge research.
Dr. Rathore was a pioneer in the field of organic and synthetic chemistry. He was born and grew up in Kannauj, and came to IIT Kanpur in 1982 to pursue his passion for science. As a student, Raj enjoyed spending his little free time in the lawns of Hall 5, playing badminton. He received his M.Sc. in Chemistry in 1986 from IIT Kanpur, under the mentorship of Prof. S. Chandrasekaran. Raj then traveled to the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1990. Raj did his postdoctoral research and visiting assistant professorship at the University of Houston under Jay K. Kochi, before joining the faculty at Marquette University in 2000.
Dr. Rathore made key contributions to the areas of organic supramolecular and materials chemistry. His interests focused in rational design and synthesis of novel electro-active molecules with applications in molecular recognition, photovoltaics, molecular electronics, and drug discovery. In particular, Raj is well known for his contributions to studies of the Scholl reaction mechanism, syntheses of cofacially arrayed polyfluorenes, and applications of nitric oxide complexes with aromatic donors. His recent work was focused on elucidating the application of frontier molecular orbitals (FMOs) in the rational design of novel charge-transfer materials.
Raj (and those who worked with him) would say that if you “drew him a structure, he could synthesize it.” Over the course of his distinguished career, he published more than 150 articles in various respected journals, including Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Angewandte Chemie. He has an h-index of 35, and his papers have been cited more than 3,700 times; a testament to Raj’s impressive scientific career.
Raj Rathore is the rare product of the merging of immense talent and true passion. His contributions to science will be sorely missed, and the love and generosity he gave to his family and friends is a legacy that those who knew him will forever strive to live up to.