Daniel Kemp, long-time professor at MIT, died peacefully from respiratory complications due to COVID-19 on May 2, 2020.
Daniel Schaeffer Kemp was born October 20, 1936 in Portland, Oregon. He received his undergraduate degree from Reed College in 1958 and his Ph.D. under the direction of R. B. Woodward in 1964.
At Harvard he had the distinction of being a member of the Society of Fellows. Junior Fellows “must be persons of exceptional ability, originality and resourcefulness, and should be of the highest calibre of intellectual achievement, comparable to successful junior faculty positions at leading universities.” Professor Kemp was very proud of his receiving this three-year fellowship which allowed him pursue studies in any department of the University free from formal requirements. Such an honor was highly appropriate for a man renowned for his expansive intellect and intellectual interests.
In 1964 Dan began his career at MIT and spent the next 45 years as a Professor becoming Professor Emeritus in 2009. Dan was an exceptional lecturer and teacher and was a strong influence on many generations of MIT students.
In the early 1970s the introductory organic chemistry courses 5.41 and 5.42 followed “Kemp’s Notes” which deviated significantly in their methodology from other texts of the day. These efforts ultimately led to the publishing in 1980 of a textbook with his former student Frank Vellacio. Although Kemp never won the James Flack Norris Award for the Outstanding Teaching of Chemistry awarded by NESACS, this was, as with many awards, an unfortunate oversight.