George R. Anderson, 87, Falcon Heights, died Oct. 8, 2021.

George was an innovator with a sharp and questioning mind; a kind and gentle man.

An uncle bought George, then a grade school boy, a chemistry set that he later credited with sparking his fascination with the physical sciences. Majoring in math and chemistry, Anderson graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., in 1956. He then earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Iowa in 1961.

As a professor and research scientist, George’s work and teaching over the years included appointments at Dupont, Swarthmore College, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Wesleyan University, Bowdoin College, the University of Minnesota and the Pillsbury Company.

George loved pure and applied chemistry, making contributions to the study of infrared spectroscopy and the structural dynamics of water as well as securing patents toward the invention of microwave popcorn and microwave dough crispers (e.g. pizza).

In 2000, Anderson also developed a 3D reimagining of the Periodic Table of the Elements that educators have praised for its intuitive elegance.

George and Catherine (married in 2000) moved into 1666 Coffman Condominiums in 2008, where he served as president of the board and organized the facility’s annual Pi day (3/14).

George delighted in The Bard and in the Elizabethan court poet-playwright Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the possible concealed author behind the byline “Shakespeare.”

To the end, George expressed his belief in the importance of truth and ethics in contemporary life.

George was predeceased by first wife Diane, sister Janet Peterson, and stepdaughter Kate Schmid. He is survived by wife Catherine Wengler, children Mark and Peter, stepson John Schmid and three grandchildren.

The date for George’s memorial at Lakewood Chapel had not been set as of the Bugle’s December publication. (Email to receive updates.) Donations gratefully requested in his memory to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.

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