Edward L. Cochran

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Dr. Edward Leo Cochran Jr.
Edward Leo Cochran Jr.

ResidenceClarksville, Maryland
Alma materLoyola University, Duquesne University, University of Notre Dame, PhD
Known forfree radicals
Spouse(s)Catherine Joan
ChildrenMary Catherine, Christopher, Courtney (Watson), Edward Leo III, William, Mark[1][2]
Scientific career
InstitutionsApplied Physics Laboratory
ThesisThe Photolysis of the Alkyl Iodides in the Liquid Phase

Dr. Edward Leo Cochran Jr. (born 1929) was a chemist known for his work with free radicals. In 1956 he moved from Orange, Connecticut to his hometown in Clarksville, Maryland and began his career at Applied Physics Laboratory.[3] He also served as the second County Executive of Howard County, Maryland.[4]

Education and career[edit]

Dr. Cochran graduated with a B.S. from Loyola University in 1949. He achieved a Masters in Chemistry from Duquesne University in 1951 with a thesis on Basicities of Various Hydrazones.[5] He earned his PhD. from the University of Notre Dame with a thesis on the photolysis of the alkyl iodides in the liquid phase.[6][7] Dr. Cochran worked for the Applied Physics Laboratory as a chemist for most of his career except for the period which he was County Executive of Howard County, Maryland.[8] As chemist, Dr. Cochran was part of a team that carried out pioneering studies on the nature of free radicals, along with Chih-Kung Jen, Frank. J. Adrian, Vernon A. Bowers, Samuel Foner, and others, including the description of the Electron Spin Resonance spectra of simple free radicals trapped in solid matrices at cryogenic temperatures.[9] Dozens of free radicals were described for the first time, including hydrogen, deuterium, nitrogen, methane, alkyl, formyl, ethynyl and vinyl, NH2 and ND2 and cyanogen and Methylene Imino.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Their paper on electron spin resonance proved to be one of the most frequently cited APL publications into the 21st century.[17][18] Following his term as County Executive, Dr. Cochran returned as spokesman for the Applied Physics Laboratory, and learned how to fly at Haysfield Airport.[19][20] Cochran's family has remained active in Howard County. His son William is an active artist with works proposed for Symphony Woods, his daughter Courtney Watson became a school board member, County Councilperson, and ran for County Executive.[21] His daughter Mary Catherine is a founding member of Preservation Howard County, winning the preservationist of the year award for defending and preserving the remaining county historical resources after significant losses to land development approved by the County.[22]

Political activity[edit]

Dr. Cochran served part-time as a member of the Howard County Board of Education (1964–1968) becoming chairman and as a Howard County Councilperson (1971–1974).[23][24] Dr. Cochran served as Howard County Executive (1974–1978), running on a slate of Columbia Democratic Club sponsored representatives from Columbia including Ginny Thomas, Lloyd Knowles, Richard Anderson and Ruth U. Keeton.[25] He was a member of the Regional Planning Council (1974–1978) and of the Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board, (1977–1980).[26] Other activities include: Board of Appeals candidate (1980),[27] Howard County Task Force on growth and development (1988),[28] and Howard County Charter Review Commission (2012).[29]


The Board had pursued a policy of voluntary integration prior to 1964, which resulted in only a fraction of black students attending white schools.[30] As late as 1964, ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, the Board stated that it would not consider forcing integration until 1967, to "allow for a reasonable period of adjustment" to the change.[30] However, in May 1964, as the county experienced increasing growth, the Board was expanded to five members, and Dr. Cochran was appointed as one of the Board's new members.[31] He is credited by Maryland State Senator Robert Kittleman, then the education chairman of Howard County's NAACP chapter, for providing the swing vote on February 9, 1965 to close all-black schools.[32][33][34]


In 2009, the Howard County Human Rights Commission awarded Dr. Cochran the 2009 Human Rights Award.[35] In 2010 he was awarded the James Clark Jr. Medal from Howard County Community College for his role in growing Howard Community College as a member of the board of trustees.[36]


  1. ^ "Historic Ellicott City Wayside Inn up for sale Centuries-old inn is on the market, and could be converted to private residence". Explore Howard. 19 July 2012.
  2. ^ Luke Broadwater (7 November 2002). "Watson strides to board win Daughter of former county exec follows dad's footsteps". Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ "Ellicott City Events". The Baltimore Sun. 29 January 1956.
  4. ^ Joseph R. Mitchell, David Stebenne. New City Upon a Hill: A History of Columbia, Maryland. p. 112.
  5. ^ Duquesne University Bulletin 1952-1953: 77. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Michael J. Clark (2 December 1974). "Howard's New Executive". The Baltimore Sun.
  7. ^ "Univertiy of Notre Dame Commencement" (PDF). Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  8. ^ "As Keeper of County's Past, Activist Helps Shape Future; Preservation Group's President Uses Political Savvy, Civic Skills". The Washington Post. 13 September 2001.
  9. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v40/i1/p213_s1?isAuthorized=no
  10. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v36/i7/p1938_s1
  11. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v32/i4/p963_s1
  12. ^ Jen, C. K.; Foner, S. N.; Cochran, E. L.; Bowers, V. A. (1958). "Electron Spin Resonance of Atomic and Molecular Free Radicals Trapped at Liquid Helium Temperature". Physical Review. 112: 1169. Bibcode:1958PhRv..112.1169J. doi:10.1103/physrev.112.1169.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v34/i4/p1161_s1
  14. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v40/i1/p213_s1
  15. ^ http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v1/i3/p91_1
  16. ^ http://jcp.aip.org/resource/1/jcpsa6/v36/i6/p1661_s1
  17. ^ http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v112/i4/p1169_1
  18. ^ W. Berl (1996). "Chih Kung Jen—A Remembrance". Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest 17 (3): 330–332.
  19. ^ Micheal J Clark (29 November 1978). "Cochran going back". The Baltimore Sun.
  20. ^ Janene Holzberg (19 December 2013). "Clarksville's Basslers say goodbye to family farm, Haysfield Airport". The Baltimore Sun.
  21. ^ "Cochran making a sound contribution to his hometown of Columbia Renowned artist creates multi-horn concept for Symphony Woods". The Baltimore Sun. 2 March 2014.
  22. ^ Allison Eatough (21 August 2014). "The keepers of Howard County history". The Baltimore Sun.
  23. ^ "Dr. Goedeke named to Howard County Post". The Baltimore Afro-American. 13 January 1968.
  24. ^ Amanda Yeager (9 September 2013). "Councilmember Courtney Watson expected to announce Howard County executive run". The Baltimore Sun.
  25. ^ Joseph Rocco, David L. Stebenne. New City Upon a Hill. p. 112.
  26. ^ "County Executives". Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Former Howard executive Cochran tries for position on county board of appeals". The Baltimore Sun. 23 September 1980.
  28. ^ Lisa Leff (14 July 1988). "Task Force Scratching The Surface: Consensus on Growth Just the Beginning". The Washington Post. p. MD11.
  29. ^ Lindsey McPherson (10 November 2011). "Panel says no to suggested eminent domain charter amendment". The Howard County Times.
  30. ^ a b http://archives.explorehoward.com/news/6008414/triumphs-ruling-still-resonate-after-50-years/#ixzz2XAOtiWLo
  31. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21091-2004May12.html
  32. ^ http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-02-01/news/0402010072_1_howard-county-tubman-avery
  33. ^ Susan DeFord (13 May 2004). "Difficult Change, One Step at a Time School Board's Go-Slow Ways Challenged". Baltimore Sun.
  34. ^ YLAN Q. MUI (8 March 1972). "Bringing Innovation To Schools: Integration". The Baltimore Sun.
  35. ^ "2012 Human Rights Commission Award". Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  36. ^ "Howard Community College". Retrieved 22 June 2013.

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