Herbert L. Strauss was born in 1936 in Germany. His family was able to escape the Nazi occupation and immigrated to the United States after a year in London. He studied chemistry at Columbia University, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees. He then finished his Ph.D. in 1960 before a year of postdoctoral work at Oxford.
In 1961, he joined the University of California, Berkeley chemistry faculty and remained there for the duration of his career. He served the university in a number of capacities, most notably as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs from 1995-2008. During this time, he increased the minority population in the sciences, improved gateway courses, and coordinated the Chevron Undergraduate Research Program for minority students.
He earned the 1994 Bomem-Michelson Prize for Spectroscopy, the Lippincott Award, and the Berkeley Citation.
He passed away in 2014.