Professor Cornelius Timothy Moynihan ’60, 76, passed away on Dec. 22, 2015, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, after a brief illness. His family was at his side. Born in Inglewood, Calif., on Feb. 2, 1939, to John H. Moynihan and Mildred I. (Dittman) Moynihan; he was the oldest of three children.
Connie will be remembered by family and friends as a kind and moral man with an impish sense of humor. He was the center of many a party where he entertained with his guitar and repertoire that ranged from folk songs to bawdy ballads. He enjoyed a good joke and always had one ready to share. He loved science fiction and taking his children, and later his grandchildren, to any movie with a spaceship or an alien. He was a steadfast supporter of wildlife conservation and animal welfare.
Connie attributed his success as an accomplished and respected scientist and academic to the education he received at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif. The focus and training imparted by the Jesuit brothers helped overcome the difficulties of his early years, and honed a keen scientific mind and disciplined approach to work and life. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Santa Clara University in 1960, his M.S. in physical chemistry in 1962 from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1965, also from Princeton.
His academic career began in the Department of Chemistry at California State University in Los Angeles, in 1964. He then joined the Department of Materials Science and Chemistry at Catholic University of America in 1969, and in 1981 he became professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As Professor Emeritus at RPI, he continued to review abstracts, to teach his favorite class in thermodynamics, and keep students on their toes with his rigorous line of questioning. Throughout his academic career, he specialized in amorphous materials (molten salts and inorganic glasses) and published approximately 180 scientific papers on various aspects of amorphous materials. In particular, he contributed to analyzing a complicated structural relaxation phenomenon of glasses and the most popular equations to describe the relaxation bears his name as "The Narayanaswamy-Moynihan-Tool relaxation formalism." He was a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and known for his high quality of research works and thorough and rigorous teaching of thermodynamics.
Connie is survived by his daughter, Kathleen Moynihan Falls of Evanston, Ill.; his son, Timothy Campbell Moynihan of Randolph, Vt.; his sister, Sheila Moynihan Wilson of Monterey, Calif.; his grandchildren, Keegan Moynihan, Declan Falls, Vivienne Falls and Connor Falls; his son-in-law, Bob Falls; and daughter-in-law, Bindi Rakhra; and his partner of 30 years, Maria Resnick. He was predeceased by his brother, Dennis Moynihan.