Gheorghe D. Mateescu

November 11, 1928January 22, 2021

Professor, Case Western Reserve University, USA, Honorary Member of Romanian Academy, Gheorghe D. Mateescu, 92, of Lakewood, passed away January 22, 2021.

Gheorghe D. Mateescu, an American chemist and Emeritus Professor of Case Western Reserve University was born in Pitesti, Romania on 11 November 1928, and immigrated to the US in 1967. He married Claudia G. Sfintescu in 1990 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Pitesti.

He is a Licentiate (summa cum laude) of School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, 1951 and earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland, 1971.

Gheorghe Mateescu was a researcher at the Military Hospital, Bucharest (1951-1964), Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the School of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, a researcher at the Nenitescu Institute of Organic Chemistry, Bucharest (1964-1967), where he coauthored many publications on the structure of organic small molecules such as the ever evasive cyclobutadiene. He conducted studies on the non-classical norbornyl cation (1968-1971), together with G.A. Olah, a Nobel Prize winner. He remained on the faculty of CWRU for the rest of his life, teaching Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and advising several MS and PhD graduate students as Professor of Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University and Founder and Director of The Major Analytical Instruments Facility (MAIF), CWRU (1970-1999).

His professional interest in Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Bioenergetics, Magnetic Resonance of Mitochondrial Metabolism is mirrored in both, his research and teaching projects. The research interest in Magnetic Resonance includes 2H, 17O, 31P Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Localized Spectroscopy (MRS) studies of novel biomarkers of cell bioenergetics; uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation by chemical and genetic agents; the chemistry of water monomers; Vibrational Spectroscopy.

The teaching interest encompasses MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), MRS (Localized Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy), Fourier-transform (FT) IR and Raman Spectroscopy, UV and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (UPS and XPS or ESCA-Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis), Ion Scattering Spectrometry (ISS), Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Scanning Tunneling and Atomic Force Microscopy (STM and AFM).

Professor Gheorghe Mateescu published a few books: 1) Infrared Spectroscopy. Applications in Organic Chemistry, English Edition, with Margareta Avram, Wiley-Interscience, New York, 1972, Reprint Edition, R.E. Krieger Publishing Company, Huntington, New York, 1978; 2) 2D NMR: Density Matrix and Product Operator Treatment, with A. Valeriu, Prentice Hall, New York, 1993; 3) Basic Principles of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging, in preparation. He authored more than 130 publications and communications, gave numerous lectures in USA and abroad as Guest Professor at the Universities of Bruxelles (1973), Paris (1977), Basel (1977), Marseille (1982), Ljubljana (1987) and Kyushu, Japan (1995, 1997).

Gheorghe Mateescu took a special interest in promoting Magnetic Resonance in both his native Romania and in USA, founding in 1965 the first lab of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (RMN) in Romania. After 1990, he organized, with the participation of numerous top world scientists, including Nobel Laureates, the NMR/MRI and MRS International Summer Schools (1995-2014) for Romanian Radiologist, Physicians and Scientists of diverse backgrounds. This constituted the seed for Romanian Magnetic Resonance Society (SRMMR) and for the ISMRM Romanian Chapter (International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine). In the USA, at Case Western University. He endowed several academic awards, recognizing outstanding students with the "Dumitru and Gheorghe D. Mateescu Award for Student Citizenship” Department of Chemistry, “Gheorghe and Claudia Mateescu Award for Excellence in Research” Department of Biomedical Engineering and "Nenitescu-Avram Award" Department of Chemistry.

He gained the respect of many international research groups and had a long-lasting friendship with another Nobel Laureate, Richard R. Ernst.

Professor Gheorghe Mateescu received many prestigious awards, recognitions, and distinctions from the Romanian Academy, CWRU, ISMRM and other institutions as G. Spacu Award, Romanian Academy, 1966; Inter-academy Exchange Fellow, National Academy of Sciences-Romanian Academy, 1982, 1990; John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Teaching, CWRU 1991; Honorary Member, Romanian Academy, 1995; George Emil Palade Award for Scientific Achievements of Romanian Cultural Foundation, 1999; Member, ISMRM Global Development Committee, 2002-2004; Steaua României 2004 (The highest Romanian Honorary Grade instituted in 1877 by Carol I, Romanian King); Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), 2009, Honorary Member, Romanian Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2008; Outstanding Alumnus, Chemistry Department, CWRU, 2015, Doctor Honoris Causa of Polytechnic University, Bucharest, 1996 and of Carol Davila School of Medicine, Bucharest 1999 His merits were often saluted by media in Romania, his country of origin, US and Canada.

He was an active member of Professional Societies such as American Chemical Society (ACS), International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), International Society of Oxygen Transport to Tissue (ISOTT), International Isotope Society (IIS), American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences (ARA).

Professor Gheorghe Mateescu is remembered by his students, collaborators and friends over the world, participants to the IRM workshops (1997-2014), where with his generosity and talent he formed not only a group of scientists, but a family of professionals of various background sharing the same passion, the NMR. He is remembered as a model by the passion he always talked and inspired his collaborators, students, graduate students, post-docs for science, research, progress in medicine, considering "the radiologist the promoter of the scientific progress every moment of his activity" and making them a part of his closed family.

Gheorghe is survived by his devoted wife, Claudia, his siblings Maria, sister, Constantin, brother and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by Georgeta, Smaranda, Sica, Dumitru.

Good Bye and rest in Peace in your way to the stars Professor Gheorghe Mateescu, Promoter of the progress, science and friendship.

Visitation Wednesday, January 27, 2021, from 9:30 -10:00 am at St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, 3256 Warren Rd. Cleveland Ohio 44111, where Funeral Service will begin at 10:00 am Wednesday. Rev. Dr. Remus Grama officiating. Private interment services at Lake View Cemetery.

It is appreciated, instead of flowers, to make a donation to St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Chatedral (


  • Claudia G. Sfintescu, beloved wife


  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Gheorghe D. Mateescu

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ruxandra Georgescu

January 27, 2021

Dear Luminita,

My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time. I will always remember his kindness, entusiasm and generosity that he showed towards me when I came to visit to Cleveland.
My sinceres condolences to you, dear Luminita!
May he rest in peace!
I send you love and strength in this time of loss.

You`re in my heart,

Lissandra HAULICA

January 27, 2021

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Professor Mateescu.
I am not a colleague or a student, I am not from the field of science.
But I appreciated his many qualities.
His curious intelligence from all fields of activity. He asked me all the time for the films I had produced and watched them with great interest even if they were sometimes far from his usual sphere of interest.
But also his great generosity, his unfailing presence with his friends, his uprightness and his unalterable and contagious optimism.
I was shocked to learn of his death, which was unexpected. I had probably thought that his joyful energy would preserve him from all dangers.
May he rest in peace.

My condolences and affection to his dear wife Claudia Mateescu.

American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences

January 26, 2021

Professor Gheorghe Mateescu will be remembered for his enthusiastic dedication to NMR spread over a world of scientists and students, for his loving and tireless interest to Romanians and Romania and for his legacy of a bouquet of endowments at Case Western Reserve University, keeping alive Romanian scientists name over the years.
A last Homage to Professor Mateescu and heartfelt condolences to you, dear Luminita Claudia.

American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences will keep his memory alive.

Claudia Mateescu

January 25, 2021

Dolores Platareanu

January 24, 2021

Dear Luminita,
My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time .

Camélia and Mihai Barboiu

January 24, 2021

Our condolences to you and your family on the passing of Professor Gheorghe Mateescu. May our friendship and prayers ease you through this difficult time. Camélia and Mihai Barboiu