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AGE: 71 • formerly of Wilmington
Akimichi Yokozeki, age 71, of Spencerport, New York, formerly of Wilmington, DE and Kano, Japan, passed away on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. He was born on December 25, 1942, in Ueda, Japan, to the late Masaki and Yukiko Yokozeki. Dr. Yokozeki was a graduate of the University of Tokyo, receiving a PhD of Science in Chemical Physics in 1971. He continued his academic research career with post-doctoral positions at Cornell University, University of Toronto, Northwestern University, University of Rochester, and Harvard University, publishing papers on molecular structures of compounds in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Applied Physics, and Journal of Chemical Physics.
He joined E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company in 1982 at the Wilmington Experimental Station for research on environmental issues related to the chlorofluorocarbon/ozone depletion concern. He later was given the opportunity for more direct research developing chlorine-free compounds for applications such as refrigerants, solvents, and blowing agents with DuPont Fluorochemicals. Applying his knowledge of thermodynamics, molecular structure effects, mathematics, and computer programming, he made a significant impact on the research, development, and commercialization of new DuPont fluorochemical products. Akimichi's coworkers who knew him as "Michi" were also very appreciative of his freely-given assistance and advice on their research projects. He was recognized for his accomplishments by receiving the DuPont Bolton Carothers Innovative Science Award for Development of hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant blends in 2005. In 2006 he received the American Chemical Society Heroes of Chemistry Award for his accomplishments in the development of non-ozone-depleting products. He was a member of the Physical Society of Japan and the American Chemical Society. He was the author or co-author of more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in his field of research, and named as inventor or co-inventor of 26 United States Patents. He also published a reference book on "Thermodynamic Properties of Pure and Blended Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Refrigerants" during his sabbatical at Keio University with Professor Koichi Watanabe. He continued his research in fluorochemicals and also in the area of ionic liquids until his retirement in 2009.
During his retirement, Akimichi wrote over 75 essays on his memoirs, philosophical ideas and many scientific subjects. The topics of his essays varied from highly mathematical with titles such as "Spira mirabilis," "Catenary Curves" and "Space-Time and Causality" to the study of nature with titles such as "Lady Bugs" and "Shapley and Ants." His essays were a source of enjoyment for him and for his many friends who received them. Akimichi spent the past three years living in Spencerport, NY where he could be close to his friend, Kim Bushman and her family. He met them when he arrived in the USA in 1972, and they provided loving assistance during his health problems and hospitalization. Michi requested no memorial service, and special memories can be shared at the funeral home website www.newcomerrochester.com.
Akimichi is survived by his brother, Masanori Yokozeki, and his sister, Noriko Ushiyama (Yokozeki), who both live in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Akimichi concluded one of his essays with the following: "Hana chitte, Wakaba idekuru, Sakura-no ki", translated in English as "After the flower falling, New leaves come out, From old cherry trees."
Published in The News Journal on Apr. 13, 2014