H. Bentley Glass, one of the United States' leading biologists when he joined what was then the fledgling State University at Stony Brook in 1965, died Jan. 16 from complications of pneumonia at a Boulder, Colo., hospital, one day before his 99th birthday.
''Bentley was such a multifaceted person, it's hard to even characterize him in any simple terms, such as being a biologist or being a university administrator," said Frank C. Erk, emeritus professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Stony Brook University. Erk said he was one of Mr. Glass's first graduate students when he taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the early 1950s.
Mr. Glass was one of the first distinguished professors recruited by Stony Brook's president at the time, John S. Toll, bringing to the young university a scientist of immense standing. Mr. Glass was also appointed the university's first academic vice president in 1965, a position he held until 1971.
Mr. Glass, the son of missionary parents, was born in Shandong Province, China, in 1906, and largely remained in China until he went to college, first at Decatur Baptist College in Decatur, Texas, then to Baylor University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in biology. He received a doctorate from the University of Texas in 1932.
Erk recalled Mr. Glass's many contributions to scientific literature, which included 400 to 500 scholarly papers and articles as well as several books. ''It just exhausts somebody who looks at all of his publications," Erk said.
Mr. Glass was editor of the Quarterly Review of Biology, which Erk said is the ''world's leading journal" on reviews of biology books and which is now edited at Stony Brook, where Erk said Mr. Glass brought it after leaving Johns Hopkins.
Mr. Glass was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1959 and headed several organizations during his long career, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences; Phi Beta Kappa, the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the American Society of Human Genetics; and the American Society of Naturalists. He was chairman from 1958 to 1966 of the Board of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study of the National Science Foundation, which rewrote biology textbooks used in high schools nationwide that transformed the teaching of biology.
He was also on the biology advisory committee of the Atomic Energy Commission.
''He was not just a participant, he was a leader in all of these organizations," Erk said.
Mr. Glass retired from Stony Brook in 1976, becoming professor emeritus. For the next 10 years, he commuted from his home on Long Island to Philadelphia, where he was the archivist for the American Philosophical Society's library of genetics papers, said his daughter, Lois Edgar of Boulder. He moved to Boulder in 1995.
Edgar said her father was interested in making science accessible to the public and was particularly proud of his work on the curriculum committee.
In a Newsday interview in 1967, Mr. Glass said, ''If we are going to build a civilization based on science, then the man in the street is going to have to learn what science is."
He wrote in ''Science and Ethical Values" the following: ''It is the social duty and function of the scientist to inform and demand of the people and their leaders a decision and consideration of all those impending problems that grow out of scientific discovery.
''Science is no longer, and can never be again, the ivory tower of the recluse."
Edgar said a memorial service in Boulder is planned.