Dr. D. Wayne Goodman, an internationally recognized Texas A&M University chemist whose many pioneering career achievements helped revolutionize physical chemistry, died Monday (Feb. 27) after a long and difficult battle with cancer. He was 66.
Arrangements for a local memorial service will be announced at a later date for the esteemed researcher and teacher, who came to Texas A&M in 1988 as a full professor in the Department of Chemistry. He was named a distinguished professor of chemistry in 2000 and had held the Robert A. Welch Foundation Chair since 1998 after previously serving as a Welch Professor from 1994-98. Goodman also served as co-director of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Chemistry.
“Wayne was an outstanding teacher and a distinguished researcher in the field of surface science and catalysis,” said Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry and head of the Department of Chemistry. “He was a valued colleague and will be greatly missed.”
Goodman received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1974 and, after a NATO postdoctoral fellowship in Germany, was employed at the National Bureau of Standards outside of Washington, D.C. for four years. From 1980-88 he worked as a research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, serving as head of the Surface Science Division for the last three of those years, prior to coming to Texas A&M.
During his nearly 25-year career at Texas A&M, Goodman made countless contributions to teaching and research across many areas of chemistry — primarily, fundamental issues related to chemisorption and reaction at catalytic surfaces using the full array of modern surface science techniques.
“In addition to his academic achievements, he was a gentle soul with a delicate sense of humor and one of the most congenial of our colleagues,” said Dr. Ronald D. Macfarlane, a longtime colleague and fellow distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M. “I will miss him as a friend and a fellow faculty member.”
Goodman’s record of professional service and related recognition was nothing short of impeccable, as evidenced by one organization in particular: the American Chemical Society (ACS). In addition to selecting Goodman to its inaugural class of fellows named in 2009, the ACS has honored him with its Ipatieff Award (1983), Colloid and Surface Chemistry Award (1993), Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry (2002), Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis (2005) and Southwest Regional Science Award (2010).
In 2010 the ACS further celebrated Goodman — who authored more than 500 publications and book chapters while serving as an active member and officer of ACS and a number of international professional societies — with a complete volume of its flagship physical chemistry publication, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, dedicated to Goodman and his lifetime research achievements across the discipline (J. Phys. Chem. C, Vol. 114, No. 40, 2010). In the following excerpts from an autobiographical piece prepared specifically for that edition, Goodman recounts his early days at Texas A&M, the secret to his success and his proudest achievement:
“In 1988 I accepted a full professorship at Texas A&M University in the Department of Chemistry. I decided to venture into academics for no particular good reason other than the realization that science is clearly most efficiently carried out in an academic setting; that is, graduate students work much more cheaply than national lab technicians and postdocs. Of course, you do have additional responsibilities at a university; for example, teaching, committees, etc. In any case, I loaded the trucks and headed east from Albuquerque to College Station. (I note, parenthetically, contrary to the rumors, all the equipment transferred from Sandia to Texas A&M was indeed legally acquired.) I had prebuilt much of my equipment before arriving, so we made a very quick start. The university and departmental faculty/staff facilitated in every way possible my transition, and, for that matter, have always by their actions made it impossible for me to seriously consider moving elsewhere.
“I recruited a stellar first class as well as subsequent classes of students whose names appear on the student roster. The group and equipment grew rapidly, as did the scientific output. It was hard work, indeed, but there was never any looking back. I still feel the same today. I credit any good things that happened here or, for that matter, at any time during my career to the hard work of my students and other co-workers. If I have any skills at all, most certainly the sharpest is that of recognizing good talent, recruiting the owner, and tagging along. This I have been very successful in doing during the last 22 years at TAMU. Continuously, I have had a superb group of highly active and extremely talented graduate students and postdocs, all of whom have gone on to establish their own successful careers. For this, I am the proudest. The science has been incredibly amusing, but seeing students develop into seasoned scientists, moving on toward their career goals, and building successful lives is a supreme rush for me.”
Goodman’s myriad career recognitions beyond ACS include the British Vacuum Society’s Yarwood Medal (1994), a Humboldt Research Award (1995), a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (1997), the Giuseppe Parravano Award (2001), a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award (2002), the Texas A&M Research Foundation’s JoAnn Treat Research Excellence Award (2008) and the Sigma Xi Distinguished Scientist Award (2009). In 2009 he also was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Beyond the world of chemistry, Goodman was an avid private pilot and shared a love of aviation with his father and his son.
Goodman is survived by his wife of 44 years, Sandy, of College Station; his son, Jac Goodman, son-in-law, Steven Teiler, and grandson Eitan Teiler Goodman of Washington, D.C.; his father, Grady Goodman; a brother, Garon Goodman; and a sister, Marcalyn Price.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley at www.hospicebrazosvalley.org. Cards, letters and other written forms of condolences also may be addressed to the Goodman Family in care of the Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-3255.
Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or firstname.lastname@example.org