IIT Emeritus Professor Peter Lykos Has Passed Away

Illinois Institute of Technology Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Peter Lykos passed away on July 16.

Peter Lykos joined the Department of Chemistry in 1955, retiring in 2013. He had a distinguished academic career as a physical chemist and a strong interest in the area of computers in chemistry, now known as computational chemistry. Lykos was a pioneer in the use of computers in the classroom, introducing them to IIT classes in 1959, and was also instrumental in the development of IIT’s Saturday program, teaching computer science to thousands of high school students and their teachers in the 1960s.

He took a two-year leave of absence from IIT beginning in 1971 to assist the National Science Foundation in creating a new Computer Science Division Section—Computer Impact on Society. He was an active member of the American Chemical Society and helped create the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry in 1974.

In recent years, Lykos developed two courses on the science of climate change. He was also passionate about the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program, and his last IPRO project, entitled Global Warming and Community Outreach, reflected that interest.

His legacy to the Department of Chemistry lives on through his philanthropic efforts. He was instrumental in raising an endowment, honoring IIT chemistry academicians Martin and Mary Kilpatrick, that supports the Kilpatrick Lecture Series as well as the Kilpatrick Fellowship and Kilpatrick Scholarship in chemistry at IIT.