Karl Sollner, 83, a physical chemist who was a scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health, where he had worked since 1947, died June 14 at his home in Chevy Chase after a stroke.
He was named scientist emeritus in 1973. Before that, he had served as chief of the electrochemistry and colloid physics section of what is now NIH's National Institute of Arthritis Diabetes & Digestive Kidney Diseases.
During his years at NIH, he worked on the construction of artificial membranes and their use as models for biological systems to better understand the flow of liquids through living membranes. He pioneered work in permselective membranes, which led to important advances in such fields as water desalination and kidney research. At the time of his death, he was working on a technical book dealing with the history of the physical chemistry of membranes.
He was an organizer of the first physical biochemistry seminars held at NIH. During his nearly 50 years of physiochemical membrane research, he published more than 130 scientific articles. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Society of General Physiologists, and the American Institute of Chemists.
Dr. Sollner was a native of Vienna and earned his doctorate in physical chemistry at the University of Vienna. After that, he became affiliated with the famed Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and the University of Berlin. After the Nazis came to power, he spent four years as a researcher at University College in London before coming to this country in 1937.
He was a research agronomist at Cornell University from 1937 to 1938. He then joined the faculty and research staff at the University of Minnesota medical school. He remained there, becoming a professor of physiological chemistry, until moving here and joining NIH in 1947.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Herta Rosenberg (Helen) Sollner of Chevy Chase; a daughter, Dr. Barbara Sollner-Webb of College Park; a sister, Dr. Hilda Bauer of Sweden, and a granddaughter.