Sternbach was 97. He died Wednesday at home in Chapel Hill, N.C. From The Washington Post:
Mr. Sternbach became a celebrated figure in research science for his creation of a group of chemicals that soothed anxious, irritated and agitated executives and housewives. Valium topped the list of most-common pharmaceuticals from 1969 to 1982, with nearly 2.3 billion pills passing into consumers' hands during its peak sales year of 1978 ... His other major breakthroughs include the sleeping pills Dalmane and Mogadon, Klonopin for epileptic seizures and Arfonad for limiting bleeding during brain surgery. He held more than 240 patents.