Dr. J. Calvin Giddings, 66, distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah, died October 24, 1996 of cancer.
He was born in American Fork, Utah on September 26, 1930 to Luther E. and Berneice Crandall Giddings.Cal's many accomplishments in science, outdoor exploration, and environmental preservation will leave him long remembered.
A graduate of B.Y.U., he earned his Ph.D. in 1954 at the University of Utah. After postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he joined the faculty of the U of U in 1957.
Cal was a lifelong explorer with a great passion for the outdoors and a long list of major accomplishments. He made numerous first and early ascents in the Wasatch and other mountains, including the first ascent of the sheer west face of Lone Peak and an early ascent of Zion's Great White Throne. He was also among the first to explore a number of backcountry ski routes in the Wasatch range.
More notable was his love of kayaking which he pioneered in the state of Utah. Numerous Utah and western rivers were first descended by Cal and partners, including Cross Mountain Canyon on the Yampa, the Black Boxes of the San Rafael, Zion Narrows, and the Escalante. In 1975 he successfully kayaked and explored the Apurimac River, source of the Amazon. This epic adventure was chronicled in his book, "Demon River: Apurimac", published by the University of Utah Press shortly before his death. His love of kayaking and of river environments was infectious, and he introduced many friends and family members to the sport.
In later years Cal had taken up mountain biking with an equal enthusiasm, beginning with his first time on a mountain bike on Moab's Slickrock trail at the age of 56.
He was also one of the pioneers of the modern Utah environmental movement. He recognized the uniqueness of the area around Lone Peak and made the original proposal for the Lone Peak Wilderness Area. He participated in the founding of the American Rivers Conservation Council (now American Rivers), co-founded Utah's Save our Rivers Committee, was a member of Negative Population Growth's board of directors, and served as President of both the Wasatch Mountain Club and American Whitewater Affiliation. He authored the text "Chemistry, Man, and Environmental Change", which received an award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement in Education in 1973.
His scientific work focused on methods of chemical separations. He invented the technique of field-flow fractionation (FFF) which is used in fields ranging from medicine to fabrication to environmental studies. He was the director of the FFF Research Center at the U of U. He founded FFFractionation, a Utah-based company, to develop and market FFF techniques worldwide.
He has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications and edited 32 books in the field of chemistry. He wrote two other important books in chemistry, and was the executive editor of the journal "Separation Science and Technology". Cal received numerous honors for his work including American Chemical Society Awards in Chromatography and Electrophoresis, in Analytical Chemistry, and in Separation Science and Technology, the Tswett Medal in Chromatography, and the Nichols Medical from the New York Section of the ACS. He was awarded an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, the 1991 Governor's Medal in Science and Technology, and was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1984 and 1994.
Cal always loved the adventure of being off the beaten track, whether in science, in exploring new mountains or rivers, or in bushwhacking with his dogs near his canyon home. In going on to explore the ultimate unknown he leave behind two brothers, Dr. C. Bland Giddings, Mesa, Arizona; Dr. Luther E. Giddings, Salt Lake City, Utah; two sisters, Mrs. Ruth G. Peterson, Orem, Utah; and Mrs. Irene G. Thomson, Provo, Utah; his sons, Michael, Madison, Wisconsin; and Dr. Steven (Liz), Santa Barbara, California; and his loving wife, Leslie.
Memorial services will be conducted at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29, 1996 at the U of U Fine Arts Museum Auditorium. Friends and family will meet there in the hour preceding services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the J. Calvin Giddings Memorial Fund at The Nature Conservancy, 559 S. Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84102.
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