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Harold Barry Dellinger

Professor of Chemistry and Patrick F. Taylor Chair
College of Science






By Dr. Erwin Poliakoff, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Chemistry

LSU’s Department of Chemistry mourns the passing of Harold Barry Dellinger, Professor Emeritus.  Barry was born in Charlotte, NC, on September 14th, 1949. He received his BS from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1971 and his PhD from Florida State University with Professor Kasha in 1975.  From 1971-1981, he served his country in the US Air Force and retired at the rank of Captain. He performed postdoctoral studies with the late Professor Robin Hochstrasser at the University of Pennsylvania.  He spent 16 years at the University of Dayton Research Institute. 

Dr Dellinger was recruited to LSU and appointed professor of chemistry and Patrick F. Taylor Chair in 1998.  In the past 18 years, he has published more than 225 papers, brought extensive research funding into LSU, graduated 12 PhD students and advised several postdoctoral researchers and research associates.

He has received numerous awards for his contributions to science, including:

  • ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology (2014) for creativity in research and technology or methods of analysis to provide a scientific basis for informed environmental control decision-making processes, or to provide practical technologies that will reduce health risk factors.

  • Elected as Fellow to the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2010). This was awarded based on is contributions to science and technology.

  • Astellas USA Foundation Award (2008) for having significantly contributed to scientific research that improved public health through his and his laboratory’s contributions in the chemical and related sciences. 

  • Member of the founding organizing committee of the International Congress on Combustion By-Products and Their Health Effects and Chair of the Executive Committee

For many years, Dr. Dellinger was a highly valued colleague in the Department of Chemistry and many other departments at LSU for his excellent teaching, exemplary service, and world-class research. He performed so well as a colleague because of his unique blend of talents. He had a deep and thorough understanding of physical chemistry, an excellent grasp of environmental science, and a tremendous curiosity about a broad range of scientific issues. These qualities allowed him to develop important cutting edge methods and concepts in the environmental science community. For example, his development of a system that combined a flow tube reactor with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry proved to be invaluable for assessing the pathways that resulted in persistent organic pollutants in combustion and incineration processes; in particular, his developments with such instrumentation helped to identify the dominant role of surface chemistry on metal oxide surfaces that results in much of the worldwide production of dioxins. Furthermore, his ability to take a fresh view of such topics led to his seminal work on environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) that is currently being pursued widely around the world. His insights, incisive curiosity, and collegiality made him a great mentor, friend, and colleague.

After a long illness, Barry passed away in the early evening of March 9th, 2016. Though Barry is no longer with us, his contributions to science and education will remain and his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of his family, friends, colleagues and students.

For a summary of Professor Dellinger’s Research Contributions click here.

His research focused on thermal degradation kinetics and degradation profiles of organic compounds with a special focus on the hazardous organic pollutants. These studies included evaluation of principal organic hazardous pollutants for their destruction and removal efficiency in both pyrolytic and oxidative conditions. His work led to the development of T99 theory or temperature of 99% destruction of chemicals at a specific residence time and formed the foundation for what is used by the EPA to form their incinerability ranking (a guide in the performance tests of incinerator systems). His work has significantly contributed to the understanding of the factors determining the formation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated furans (PCDD/F) in thermal processes. He was the first scientist to propose the integrated model of PCDD/F formation including all 3 pathways of formation (gas phase, surface precursor and de novo). In the last 15 years, his research has increasingly focused on the origin, fate, and health impacts of particle-associated, environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) and combustion generated nanoparticles. His work has always been recognized by industry, policy-makers, the research community and environmental groups.

Research funding has included support from NSF, EPA, tobacco companies, and more recently and substantially, Dr Dellinger was the director of the LSU Superfund Research Center that received $15,291,598 (2011-16) to investigate the environmental and health impacts of airborne pollutant-particle systems (environmentally persistent free radicals) emitted from thermal remediation technologies or wind-blown dusts created during remediation and containment activities of Superfund wastes.