William Beach Connick
August 8, 1966 - April 22, 2018
William "Bill" Connick, the youngest child of Robert and Frances Connick, was born and raised in Berkeley, California. He was a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Biosensors and Chemical Sensors at the University of Cincinnati. He was regarded as an outstanding scientist, educator, mentor and colleague.
Bill was also the devoted father of Oliver and George (9 and 6 years old) and the loving husband of Marcelle. It was important to Bill to spend time with his sons. He made up math problems for Oliver and tutored George on his numbers and letters. Bill could be very silly as well as serious, and loved playing, joking and goofing around with Marcelle and the boys.
In the summertime, Bill enjoyed camping with his extended family in Northern California. In his 20s, he began a long-term project to plant redwood trees at the family campground, braving poison oak and blackberry bushes to plant seedlings and nurturing them over many years. These trees have grown tall and broad, providing shade for the camp and constitute a legacy that is cherished by his family.
Bill earned his B.A. in Chemistry from Williams College in 1988, M.A. in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge in 1992, and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1997. He performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester and then joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati in 1998. He received a Beckman Young Investigator Award (2001-2004) and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2002-2007) for his research focused on cooperative two-electron transfer reactions. He was named an IUPAC Young Observer in 2009, the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society Chemist of the Year in 2014, and Visiting Scholar at the Université de Bordeaux in 2015.
Bill's research impacted diverse areas of science. He was a world expert in multielectron photophysics for energy sustainability. He also developed sensors for the measurement of different targets such as pollutants in ground water and tracing the source of radioactive pollutants in nuclear forensics.
Bill's contributions to science and the education that he provided to the students working with him on these projects will continue to have an impact on our world. Students regarded Bill as an inspirational lecturer in the classroom – funny, enthusiastic, dedicated, and extremely knowledgeable. Bill was awarded a 2018 Faculty Excellence Award for exceptional performance.
Bill is survived by his wife, Marcelle, his sons, George and Oliver, his four sisters – Mary, Liz, Megan and Sarah – and his brother, Arthur.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 25 to May 27, 2018.