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date: 26 January 2020

Harkins, William Draperlocked

(28 December 1873–07 March 1951)
  • George B. Kauffman


Harkins, William Draper (28 December 1873–07 March 1951), physical chemist and nuclear scientist, was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania (where the first commercial development of the Pennsylvania natural gas fields took place), the son of Nelson Goodrich Harkins, variously described as a fruit rancher, fruit broker, and oil industry pioneer, and Sarah Eliza Draper. At the age of nineteen he moved to Escondido, California. In 1896 he matriculated at Stanford University, where he was, first, assistant (1898–1900) and, then, instructor (1900) in chemistry. After receiving his B.A. degree in 1900, he served as professor and chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Montana at Missoula (1900–1912). During this period he was president of the Missoula City Board of Health (1906–1912), chemist in charge of smelter investigations for the Anaconda Farmers’ Association (1902–1910), and a consultant for the Mountain Copper Company of California (1904) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington (1911). He also pursued postgraduate work at the University of Chicago (1901, 1904) and Stanford University (1905–1906). In 1904 he married Anna Louise Hatheway, chairman of the University of Montana Department of English; they had two children. He was awarded the first Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford on 10 June 1907....

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