1925 - 2014
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WILSON, Thérèse, 88, of Cambridge, died peacefully at home on April 28, 2014. Born in Brussels, Belgium, to Frédèric Bremer and Claire Baar Bremer, she studied at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where she obtained a doctorate in chemistry in 1952. In 1954, when there were few women in American science, she came to work with Professor George Kistiakowsky in the Chemistry Department at Harvard University as a Fulbright fellow. In 1955, she married E. Bright Wilson Jr., a chemistry professor at Harvard, who died in 1992. After taking time off to have children, she resumed her career at Harvard, first in the Chemistry Department and later in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her research focused on chemiluminescence and bioluminescence, the study of chemical and biochemical reactions that produce light. In addition to many scientific papers, she recently completed with her longtime collaborator Professor J. Woodland Hastings Bioluminescence: Living Lights, Lights for Living, published by Harvard University Press in 2013. Perhaps the greatest satisfaction of her life in science came from nurturing the careers of young scientists from around the world, many of whom remained devoted friends. She is survived by her brother Antoine Bremer of Brussels; her children Anne Goldizen of Brisbane, Australia, Paul Wilson of New York, and Steven Wilson of Brooklyn; her stepchildren David Wilson and Nina Cornell; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Before moving to Cambridge in 1984, she lived in Concord, Massachusetts. She spent many happy summers in Deer Isle, Maine. A memorial is planned for July.
Published on NYTimes.com from May 7 to May 8, 2014