Richard Suzman once chased a Nobel-winning psychologist through a Washington rainstorm, as a scientific meeting was breaking up, to whet the psychologist’s interest in a new project. In the middle of the night, Dr. Suzman liked to email social scientists, urging them to take immediate action on a project. Other times, an email or phone call would all but order a researcher to apply for a grant.
A social psychologist by training who left his native South Africa as a teenager, Mr. Suzman built a government career like few others.
As a longtime official at the National Institutes of Health with an ambitious definition of his job, he influenced economics, public health and other fields over three decades.
He died at 72 on April 16 in Bethesda, Md. The cause was complications ofamyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said Janice Krupnick, his wife of 39 years and a clinical psychologist at Georgetown University.

Richard Suzman