Ernest B. Yeager

Ernest B. Yeager, the Frank Hovorka Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, was internationally known for his pioneering contributions to the fundamental understanding of electrochemical reactions and to the development of fuel cell and battery technology. During nearly 50 years on the Case Western Reserve faculty, he mentored 80 doctorate students and 45 postdoctoral fellows, authored 270 scientific papers and edited and co-edited 20 books. He was internationally recognized as an authority in physical acoustics and electrochemistry. His students and colleagues knew him for his uncompromising demand for excellence in research and scholarly writing.

Prof. Yeager, 77, died March 8, 2002, in Cleveland, Ohio, after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease.

A native of Orange, NJ, Prof. Yeager considered a career in music and was a talented pianist but decided to pursue mathematics and the sciences. He graduated summa cum laude with his B.A. degree from Montclair State University in 1945. He enrolled as a graduate student in chemistry at Western Reserve University in 1945. After earning his Ph.D. in 1948, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry where he served until his retirement in 1990. He, became a full professor in 1958 and was named to the Frank Hovorka Professor in 1983.

Prof. Yeager was the founder in 1976 of what has become the Yeager Center of Electrochemical Sciences. The Center is one of the largest University research groups, working in electrochemistry in the United States. In 1994 the Center was rededicated in his honor as the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences. >From 1969 through 1972, he served as chair of the chemistry department and chair of the CWRU Faculty Senate in 1972 and 1973

In a 1976 Plain Dealer article, Prof. Yeager commented that electrochemistry would play a major role in meeting the nation's energy problems and helping to conserve natural resources. He believed that electric cars would become more common in years to come and that high performance fuel cells and storage batteries would be needed to power these cars. Much of his research focused on developing these advanced power systems.

During his career he served as president of the Electrochemical Society from 1965-66 and the International Society of Electrochemistry from 1969-71 as well as vice president of the Acoustical Society of America. He served as a consultant to numerous organizations, including Union Carbide, the Institute of Defense Analysis, NASA, Argonne National Laboratory, General Motors Corp. and Eveready Battery Co. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Acoustical Society. Among the awards he earned are the Acheson Medal and the Vittoria de Nora Medal--both from the Electrochemical Society. He also received the Biennial Award of the Acoustical Society of America and a Navy Certificate of Commendation, for work as a member of the committee on undersea warfare. He was a NATO Senior Fellow and a visiting Professor at the University of Southampton in England.

In addition to Prof. Yeager's research, he was considered by students, staff and faculty a generous person, whose life revolved around his campus activities. He was a dedicated teacher, who would stay on campus later than 11 p.m. holding office hours to meet with students who needed help. Following an appendix operation, his students lined up outside his hospital room taking turns visiting him. He often joked that he only needed four hours of sleep. Many students and colleagues remember the joy Professor Yeager exuded when he entertained his holiday party guests with his piano skills. At professional meetings, Professor Yeager was noted for his penetrating questions that were always presented in a respectful way to an appreciative speaker and audience.

Prof. Yeager also was an active member of the Church of Covenant, where he served as a church elder.

Prof. Yeager is survived by his brother and sister-in law John F. and Gertrud Yeager, of Ridgefield, Conn.; his nephew John D. Yeager and family, of Lawrenceville, N.J.; and his niece Julie D. Zink and family, of New Britain, Connecticut; seven grand nieces and nephews; and an aunt and cousins who live in Switzerland.

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Church of the Covenant, 11205 Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Movement Disorders Research, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue S90, Cleveland, OH 44195 to further research on Parkinson's Disease or to the Ernest B. Yeager Memorial Fund in care of the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7204