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January 10, 2013

Obituary: Ryonosuke Shiono

Ryonosuke Shiono, associate professor emeritus of crystallography in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, died Dec. 11, 2012, at 89.

Shiono joined the University in 1956 as a research associate in chemistry and a lecturer in physics. In 1961 he was promoted to assistant research professor of crystallography.

In 1969, he was awarded tenure and gained the rank of associate professor. That year, his colleagues noted that Shiono had played a vital part in developing the pre- and post-doctoral teaching and research program in crystallography. By then, his early work in programming computers for crystallography research had benefited dozens of laboratories around the country.

He also was a computing consultant at the Istituto di Chimica Farmaceutica, Universita di Roma, Italy, and a visiting professor at the Universidad de Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Shiono was a board member of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and the original chair of the Japanese Room Committee of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms.

“Dr. Shiono became my friend 45 years ago,” said E. Maxine Bruhns, director of the Nationality Rooms. “We weathered the successful creation of the Japanese Nationality Room together. He was very quiet, yet we shared a solid bond of trust, which never wavered.”

She added: “In 2009 he gave the Nationality Rooms Program $90,000 to endow a scholarship for summer study in Asia. Reports from his awardees gave him much pleasure, according to his family. He will be deeply missed by the Nationality Rooms program staff.”

Shiono was born Nov. 12, 1923, in Kobe, Japan. He earned an MS from Osaka University (then Osaka Imperial University) in Japan in 1945 and a DSc from the same institution in 1960.

He began his academic career as an instructor at Osaka University in 1945, becoming an assistant professor in physics there in 1949. He served until 1953, when he was awarded a British Council Scholarship to the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds in England. He was a temporary research assistant there for a year until being hired by Pitt.

Shiono is survived by his wife, Teruko (Utagawa) Shiono, to whom he was married for 55 years; three children, Chizu, Masako and Ryoichi; six grandchildren, Megumi, Jaeho and Kenjiro Lee and Delaney, Tate and Brock Shiono; two brothers, Taro Shiono and Kikuo Ikeda, and three nieces.

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 45 Issue 9

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