Peter Lykos, 86, distinguished academic

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Professor Peter G. Lykos, 86, died on July 16, 2013. Born on January 22, 1927, he was a Chicago native and the son of Greek immigrants.

He answered the country's call at Roosevelt High School for volunteers to enter the World War II, Navy V-5 training program.

By 19, he was a "seasoned" (he would chuckle) veteran. Upon discharge, he propelled himself to an academic career which led to Wright Junior College, Northwestern and finally the Carnegie Institute of Technology for a Ph.D. in chemistry.

He then returned to Chicago, joining the Illinois Institute of Technology and it was this institution, faculty, and above all, these students, he would end up dedicating the rest of his professional life.

Mr. Lykos thrived in a distinguished and varied career at IIT pursuing his lifelong passions of computers in chemistry, quantum chemistry and chemistry education. Among other adjunct initiatives, he was central to creating a computer center at IIT and launching the computer science department.

He also brought time-share computing to Chicago's area high schools and created IIT/V, distance learning reaching out to companies in the Midwest. More recently he mentored cross-disciplinary teams addressing contemporary topics such as robotics.

His extracurricular professional activities included launching what would become a series of 12 international conferences on computers in chemistry research and education spanning 30 years, longtime prominent participation in the American Chemical Society championing advancements in chemistry education structure, content, and methods, and a similarly-focused two-year appointment to the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C.

Mr. Lykos was active in civic affairs in Oak Park, which was home to his family since 1959. This began with organizing a grassroots effort to create the first two parks with recreation centers in south Oak Park in the 1960s.

Mr. Lykos is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marie; children, George (Carmen), Kristina, and Andrew; granddaughter, Aurora; in-laws, Barbara Lykos, Helen Lyons, and Tony Susco; and his many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his five younger brothers and sisters.

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Lidia Calcaterra from Arlington Heights, IL  

Posted: September 1st, 2014 11:08 PM

I met Professor Lykos a few years ago when I taught college chemistry at IIT. From the beginning, I was struck by his passion for teaching young students how to be independent thinkers. In the latter years he strongly encouraged many a student to understand the science behind the reports on Climate Change. I am sure he lives in the memory of all the students he taught. Personally, I will miss him.

Joseph from Livermore  

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 3:16 PM

Prof. Lykos, and his long-time colleague Prof, Kenneth Schug were exceptional and inspiring mentors to me and my fellow students during the mid 1980's. I a m stunned to learn they have passed on. They live on through the spirit of collaboration and friendship that persists at the IIT department of chemistry.

Bob Rosenstein from Chicago  

Posted: July 30th, 2013 3:43 PM

Over the years,I had contact with Peter Lykos at various ACS meetings and some seminar settings at IIT. I appreciated his devotion to the profession of chemistry. Discussions with him on concepts in physical chemistry were always meaningful. I respected particularly his interest in seeing the Nation transform to a Green Economy. I will miss him deeply. May he rest in peace eternally knowing he advanced humanity by his presence.

Charles E. Cannon from Chicago  

Posted: July 25th, 2013 1:40 PM

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Peter. He was a great colleague working many years as a volunteer in many of the programs for the Chicago Local Section of the American Chemical Society. He was a friend and I shall miss him very much. I extend deepest sympathy to his family.

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