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Prof. Foil A. Miller

Foil Miller (1916-2016) was a retired Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and former Director of the Spectroscopy Laboratory there. He was born in Aurora, Illinois but was raised in the small village of Pepin, Wisconsin on the east bank of the upper Mississippi River. His undergraduate work was done at Hamline University in St. Paul. After a year of graduate work at the University oif Nebraksa, he transfered to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and obtained his Ph. D. degree there. Following a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Felloswhip at the University of Minnesota, he taught for four years at the University of Illinois. He went to Pittsburgh in 1948 to join the staff of Mellon Institute as Head of its Spectroscopy Division, and later became a Senior Fellow in Independent Research. In 1967 he moved to the University of Pittsburgh as University Professor of Chemistry and Head of the Spectroscopy Laboratory. He retired from Pitt in 1981.

His research, which has been primarily in infrared and Raman spectroscopy, has been described in aboutn 100 publications. He has been editor of Spectrochimica Acta and Secretary of the IUPAC Commission on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy. In 1957 he held a Guggenheim Fellowship for study in Zurich. He was a Visiting Professor in Japan in 1977 and in Brazil in 1980. Since 1950 he has helped present the annual Bowdoin College summer courses on applied infrared spectroscopy. He received the 1964 Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award, the 1965 Pittsburgh Award of the American Chemical Society, and the 1973 Hasier Award of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.

Among his hobbies are travel, photography, hiking, canoeing, camping, and birding. Collecting stamps related to chemistry and physics is a special interest, and he has written over 100 articles using or concerning them. He and Professor Edgar Heilbronner of Zurich co-authored the book A Philatelic Ramble Through Chemistry (Wiley-VCH, 1998).

Foil has been a member of the Chemistry-and-Physics-on-Stamps Study Unit of the American Topical Association almost since its beginning. He served as its Secretary-Treasurer (1982-83 and 1989), and as Editor of Philatelia Chimica et Physica from 1997 through 2004.

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