Abstract: The current volume is a collection of papers in honor and in memory of Henry Bent, chemist and educator (1926 – 2015). Following a stint in the US Navy in coincidentally the same science/engineering program as Lee Allen, our other honored and memorialized chemist in the parallel volume to this, Henry completed his undergraduate education at Oberlin College and his graduate education at Berkeley. Henry started his university career at the University of Connecticut, and then sequentially migrated to the University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University, and the University of Pittsburgh from where he retired and became Professor Emeritus until his recent death. Henry’s activities combined chemistry, education and other aspects of liberal education and indeed, he and his “really” live program of bringing chemistry to the general community continued with his retirement and the move of this program to Carnegie-Mellon University for the next decade.
Along with his many publications in the primary and secondary scientific literature, Henry published many books on his highly diverse, thought-provoking and not uncommonly iconoclastic models of molecular structure and energetics. These volumes were characterized by relatively short vignettes. Indeed, Henry and the editors of this current volume discussed the publication of trialogues between the three of us but infirmity, illness and death precluded this activity. The editors wonder if a derivative dialogue between them would not be desirable in that there remains much to learn, relearn, and educate, from these studies. Henry’s activities continue to remind us that theatrical, heretical and theoretical need not be contradictory.
Henry was part of a major chemical family. His father Henry E. Bent was a physical chemist who was dean at the University of Missouri (Columbia), coincidentally the same university as CAD, one of this volume’s editors. Henry’s wife, Anne M. Bent, was also educated as a chemist and their two children, Elizabeth “Libby” (Weberg) and (early deceased) Brian followed the tradition as chemical educators and scholars.
We consider ourselves to be part of that family as well. Early in his college education, one of the coeditors (JFL) used Henry’s book on thermodynamics “The Second Law” as a highly educational and enjoyable textbook, and later used Henry’s studies of the isoelectronic principle as a major scaffold for his understanding and his doctoral studies in theoretical inorganic chemistry. The other coeditor (CAD) made significant analogous use of the eponymous “Bent’s rule” for her doctoral studies in theoretical bioorganic chemistry. And so this textbook, principle and rule are still used now. Carol A. Deakyne and Joel F. Liebman 256
Henry, we are grateful to you and so offer you our current volume. Thank you for your science and the scientist.
Carol A. Deakyne, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
Joel F. Liebman, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC),
Baltimore, MD, USA
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