Sandra Pizzarello (b. 1933) was a brilliant scientist, wife, mother and grandmother. Her groundbreaking work with meteorites redefined the key to the origins of life before it began on earth (Science 1997). Dr. Pizzarello was well known as the co-discoverer, with Dr. John Cronin, of enantiomeric excesses in amino acids extracted from meteorites, and for studies of the origins of homochirality in Earth biochemistry. She performed important work on asymmetric catalysis of biochemical reactions using non-racemic mixtures amino acids. Dr. Pizzarello’s work was characterized by the most careful attention to detail and she was lauded as an international expert in the analysis of organic material from meteorites. She loved her work and spent most days in her lab prior to the onset of COVID making that impossible.
Dr. Pizzarello was born in Venice (Italy) in 1933 and studied in nearby Padua, where she obtained a Doctorate in Biological Sciences. After a brief fellowship, she “stayed home” to raise a family of four children (Elsa Behney, Rocco Pizzarello, Francesco Pizzarello (d.2003), and Annalisa Pizzarello). When she moved to the U.S. in 1970 with her family, she re-entered the professional sphere and joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department of Arizona State University in 1977, where she recently retired as a Research Professor.
A life-long lover of dogs (especially Great Danes), gardening (especially orchids), she was able to sew anything from dresses to weaving curtains. The only thing she did not seem to be able to do was cook. She is survived by her husband, Tony, her sister, Renata Fabbri, her three children and four grandchildren (Alex Behney, Michael Pizzarello, Nico Conway, and Matteo Conway).
Funeral service will be held on Monday, November 1, 2021 at 10:00 A.M. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 East Indian School Road, Phoenix.
In lieu of flowers please consider sending a donation in honor of Sandra to One Dane at a Time a rescue in California at:
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26