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Seymour Meisel
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Seymour Meisel

Seymour L. (“Cy”) Meisel, 93, of Princeton died Dec. 28, 2015. He was born in Albany, NY. 

In 1947 Dr. Meisel joined Mobil Oil as a research chemist, and from 1968 to 1987 served as vice president of research, where he directed all of Mobil’s corporate research at three laboratory locations in New Jersey and Texas. He also had functional responsibility for Mobil’s overseas laboratories in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Under his leadership, Mobil research invented a process that increased the yield of gasoline from a barrel of crude oil by over 40 percent, which helped the United States import approximately one million barrels a day less of foreign crude oil. A catalyst was also invented that is used in plastics, polymers, petrochemicals, high-quality diesel oils, lubricants, and to transform natural gas into high-octane gasoline. He was closely involved in the development and commercialization of Mobil 1, the synthetic lubricant that is ExxonMobil’s flagship for synthetics, which generated billions of dollars in revenue each year. 

He received a BS in chemistry from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and an MS and PhD in chemistry from University of Illinois. 

He served in the U.S. Navy in 1944.

He was an active member of numerous scientific organizations. He received the American Chemical Society’s Leo Friend Chemical Technology Award and Italy’s Dante Alighieri Society Award. He authored two books, along with 30 publications and patents, and presented over 50 papers.

When he retired, he became membership chairman of the National Academy of Engineering. He was also a member of the board of trustees of Union College and was awarded the alumni Gold Medal for distinguished service. He was a board member of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, McCarter Theatre, the Nassau Club, and Princeton United Jewish Appeal. He was president of the board of Friends of Princeton University Art Museum and a member of Friends of the Institute for Advanced Studies.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Jackie; three sons, Mark, Alan (Barbara), and Neil (Ann); grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. 

Services were held Dec. 31 with arrangements by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing. Memorial contributions may be made to Cy and Jackie Meisel Nursery Scholarship Fund at The Jewish Center, Princeton, or Princeton University Art Museum. 

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