Remembering David Sloop

David Sloop, PhD '84, Research Professor of Chemistry at Washington University, died Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, after a long illness. He was 80 years old.

Dave Sloop was a skilled electrical engineer, then he earned a PhD in physics from Washington University with a thesis on an electron spin resonance (ESR) study of the photoexcited triplet state of pentacene. His project was directed by Sam Weissman. Dave’s fascination with ESR never waned, and he remained a life member of the Department of Chemistry's world-class ESR research group led by Professors Sam Weissman and Tom Lin. But Dave did far more than ESR research. Simultaneously, he founded his own company, Sytron, that became a vehicle for his strikingly creative inventions, which were steadily conceived, patented, built, and marketed. His products varied from safety devices in coal-mining to a mattress, fitted out with a grid of pressure sensors and controllers that kept the local pressure below the threshold value that could cause bed sores to develop in chronically ill patients. Sam Weissman used one when bed-ridden in his final illness.

Dave was also a congenial colleague, always ready to apply his expertise in circuitry to a colleague’s problem, and his low-key, unpretentious manner made a solution seem inevitable and imminent. Finally, his generous donation to Chemistry's fund for the Weissman Memorial Lecture was crucial in reaching its goal.