Gleb Mamantov, internationally recognized chemist in molten salt chemistry, was born in 1931 in Kapsava, Latvia, the son of physicians Alexander V. and Elena Pribikov Mamantov. When, in 1944, the Soviets overran the Baltic States, the anti-Communist Mamantov family fled westward and lived in a displaced persons camp in Kleinkotz, Germany, from 1945 to 1949. He was eighteen years old when the family immigrated to the United States; Mamantov became a U.S. citizen in 1955.
At Louisiana State University, Mamantov earned a B.S. in 1953, a master’s degree in 1954, and a Ph.D. in 1957. In 1958 he entered the U.S. Air Force and served in rocket propulsion at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In 1961 Mamantov became an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Tennessee; he served as department head from 1979 until his death. Mamantov edited nine books, including five volumes of Advances in Molten Salt Chemistry and Characterization of Solutes in Non-Aqueous Solvents. He authored or coauthored thirty-two book and proceedings chapters and more than one hundred publications in scientific journals. He held three patents.
His international recognition includes the Meggers Award of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy (1983). He made a trip to Latvia in 1993, where he was honored for his achievements in chemistry and made a lifetime member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. In 1994 he received the Max Bredig Award for outstanding scientific contributions to molten salt chemistry. Mamantov was a fellow in the American Institute of Chemists and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a consultant to the Oak Ridge National Laboratories from 1962 until his death.
Mamantov was married to Dr. Charmaine Bienvenu Mamantov, also a chemistry professor in the UT Evening School. The Mamantovs were the parents of three children. Mamantov died in 1995 at age sixty-three.