Rodney Sime was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1931, and entered the University of Wisconsin in 1949, majoring in Chemistry. Interrupted by two years in the US Air Force, he graduated in 1955 and became an ACS member. He then began grad school at the University of Washington (Seattle) and got his PhD in physical chemistry in 1959. His doctoral research was in high temperature thermodynamics. At Washington, he began a long love of mountain climbing and ski mountaineering.
From 1959 to 1992, Dr. Sime taught freshman chemistry, and physical chemistry lecture and lab at California State University, Sacramento. From the physical chemistry lab that he developed over the years, he published his first book: Physical Chemistry: Methods, Techniques and Experiments, Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, 1990, He also taught a graduate course in thermodynamics, and directed Master’s degree research of several students. He is married to Ruth Lewin Sime, and has two sons and two daughters.
During his career at Sac State, Dr. Sime spent two years as a guest professor at the University of Tübingen, Germany, supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1964-1966). There, he began work in a new interest: x-ray crystallography. Dr. Sime spent the 1974-75 year as a guest professor in Zurich, Switzerland at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). At the ETH, his x-ray crystallographic studies led to the crystal and molecular structures several narcotic opioids.
After retiring in 1992, Rod took up sailing again, which he had begun at UW (Wisconsin and Washington). Mostly he sailed on San Francisco Bay, but also took some long cruises in a small boat (38’) from England to the Isles of Scilly and to St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1997, he entered CSU Sacramento as undergrad majoring in art, finishing in 2001 with a degree: BA (Art, Studio). In 2005 he published his second book: Physical Chemistry Calculations, Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, 2005. In In 2015 one of his oil paintings was accepted at the CSUS Annual Alumni Art Show in the Robert Else Gallery. That same year the CSUS Art Department invited him to exhibit his mountain climbing and ski mountaineering photographs. The show, titled “Rod’s Mountains,” was shown in the CSUS Witt Gallery in September, 2015. In 1949, Rod was undecided as to whether he should major in art or chemistry. His father advised him to major in chemistry, if he wanted to make a living. The choice was made.