DR. PAUL KAZUO KURODATuesday, April 17, 2001
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -Dr. Paul K. Kuroda, distinguished professor of chemistry emeritus and a researcher of international reputation, died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 16. He was born Kazuo Kuroda on April 1, 1917, in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.
In the 1950s, Kuroda predicted that self-sustaining nuclear chain reactions could have occurred naturally in earth’s geologic history. In 1972, his prediction was confirmed when scientists discovered a natural nuclear reactor in Gabon, Africa. In 1960, he predicted the existence of Plutonium-244 as an element present during the solar system’s formation. The presence of excess Plutonium-244 fission-xenon was first detected in his laboratory at the University of Arkansas in 1965. Confirmation of his theory enabled scientists to more accurately date the sequence of events in the solar system’s early history. Kuroda’s tow papers on these topics were features in "The 20th Century’s 85 Benchmark Papers in Nuclear Chemistry," edited by Nobel Laureate Glenn Seaborg.
He received bachelors and doctoral degrees from the Imperial University of Tokyo and in 1944 became the youngest faculty member there. In 1949 he received the Pure Chemistry Prize of the Chemical Society of Japan. That same year he immigrated to the United States and became a U.S. citizen in 1955. After postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota, he became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Arkansas in1952. In 1979 he became the first Edgar Wertheim Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. While at the University of Arkansas he trained 64 Ph.D. students and was the author or co-author of almost 400 publications
In addition to the Pure Chemistry Prize, Professor Kuroda received the University of Arkansas Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (1963), the American Chemical Society Southwest Regional Award (1970), the American Chemical Society Southern Chemist Award (1973), the American Chemical Society Midwest Regional Award (1977), the American Chemical Society Nuclear Applications in Chemistry Award (1978) and theShibata Prize of the Geochemical Society of Japan (1991). He was the Honor Initiate of Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity at its Forty-third Biennial Conclave in 1996. He retired from the University of Arkansas in 1987.
He is survived by his wife, Louise; one son, Dr. Paul K. Kuroda, Jr. of Las Vegas; two daughters, Dr. Mitzio Kuroda Elledge of the Baylor Institute of Medicine and Mrs. Annette Kuroda Russell of Potomac, Maryland; and six grandchildren.