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Adams, Roger (02 January 1889–06 July 1971), chemist and administrator, was born in Boston, the son of Austin W. Adams, a railroad official, and Lydia Curtis. He was related to the Adams presidential family. He completed the undergraduate course in chemistry at Harvard in three years (A.B., 1909). His Harvard Ph.D. thesis was in three parts, directed by H. A. Torrey, Latham Clark, and ...

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Adkins, Homer Burton (16 January 1892–10 August 1949), organic chemist, was born near Newport, Ohio, the son of Alvin Adkins and Emily Middleswart, farmers. Adkins grew up on his parents’ farm, attended local schools, and then entered Denison University, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in 1915. In 1917 he married Louise Spivey, a Denison classmate and high school mathematics teacher; they had three children. In 1918 he earned a doctorate in chemistry from Ohio State University. After briefly serving as a chemist in the Department of War, he became an instructor in chemistry at Ohio State in 1918. In 1919 he began a thirty-year association with the University of Wisconsin, moving from assistant professor to associate professor in 1924 to professor in 1928....

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Alvarez, Francisco Sanchez (29 November 1928–31 March 1980), chemist, was born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Little is known of his childhood, including the names of his parents. He prepared for college studies at Christopher Columbus College, then received his B.S. in chemistry in 1948 at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City. In 1953, while working toward a Chem.D. at the same institution, he joined the chemical firm of Syntex (Mexico) as a research assistant. The following year he married Yolanda Dragonne, with whom he would have four children. In 1955, after earning his doctorate, Alvarez moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remained for two years, first as a research fellow working for the noted Harvard chemist ...

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Austen, Peter Townsend (10 September 1852–30 December 1907), chemist, was born in Clifton (later Rosebank), Staten Island, New York, the son of John H. Austen, a dry-goods auctioneer, and Elizabeth A. Townsend. Austen was educated at the Isaac Holden School before attending the School of Mines of Columbia University. He studied in the chemical course, winning the Torry Prize for best qualitative analysis work, and graduated with the Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1872. He continued his studies in postgraduate programs, first at the University of Berlin and then at the University of Zurich, obtaining his Ph.D. in 1876....

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Celia Bergoffen and Michelle E. Osborn

Babcock, James Francis (23 February 1844–19 July 1897), chemist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Archibald D. Babcock and Fannie F. Richards. James Francis attended the English High School and then the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University from 1860 to 1862 but did not graduate. He established an office and chemical laboratory in Boston, holding sessions for the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in rooms connected with his laboratory....

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Babcock, Stephen Moulton (22 October 1843–01 July 1931), agricultural chemist, was born near Bridgewater, New York, the son of Pelig Brown Babcock and Cornelia Scott, farmers. Babcock worked from childhood on the family farm. His inquisitive mind attracted him to science, and he enrolled in Tufts College, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in 1866. He began engineering studies at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute but returned to the farm after the death of his father. In 1872 he was a student of chemistry at Cornell University and in 1875 an instructor of chemistry. In 1877 he began graduate studies at the University of Göttingen. After receiving a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1879, he resumed his Cornell instructorship. In 1882 he became chief chemist at the newly founded New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York. During his six years there he devised several methods of analysis for food materials....

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Franklin Bache. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B01320).

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Bache, Franklin (25 October 1792–19 March 1864), physician, chemist, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Franklin Bache, a noted anti-Federalist journalist, and Margaret Hartman Markoe Bache. Franklin Bache’s grandmother, Sarah Franklin Bache, was Benjamin Franklin’s daughter. He received a classical education in the academy of the Reverend Samuel D. Wylie and was awarded both his A.B. in 1810 and his M.D. in 1814 by the University of Pennsylvania. He studied medicine privately with ...

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Bachmann, Werner Emmanuel (13 November 1901–22 March 1951), organic chemist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Arnold William Bachmann, a Swiss-born minister, and Bertha Wurster. He developed an early interest in chemistry, and his knowledge was such that his Detroit high school released him from classes for one year during World War I in order to formulate alloy mixtures at a local foundry. From 1919 to 1921 he attended Detroit Junior College. He then enrolled in the University of Michigan, receiving bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in 1923, 1924, and 1926, respectively. In 1927 he married Marie Knaphurst, a childhood friend; they had two children. A 1927 Rockefeller Foundation fellowship enabled him to study in Zurich, Switzerland, with the Nobel prizewinner Paul Karrer, with whom he determined the structure of lycopene, the red coloring matter of tomatoes. From 1929 to 1951 Bachmann was a chemistry faculty member at the University of Michigan, becoming full professor in 1939 and the Moses Gomberg University Professor in 1947. An outstanding teacher, he received in 1933 the Henry Russell Award, the university’s highest honor. He divided a 1935 Guggenheim Foundation fellowship between the Royal Cancer Hospital in London, England, and research with Heinrich Wieland in Munich, Germany....

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Badger, Richard McLean (04 May 1896–26 November 1974), physical chemist and molecular spectroscopist, was born in Elgin, Illinois, the son of Joseph Stillman Badger, a manager for General Electric, and Carrie Mabel Hewitt. When Richard was six months old, General Electric assigned his father to supervise the construction of an electric street railway in Brisbane, Australia, so Richard’s first six years were spent in Australia with his family; he was then sent back to the United States to attend school. After four years in an Elgin grammar school he went back to Australia, where he completed elementary school and began secondary school. When he was about sixteen, he returned with his family to Elgin and finished high school there; he then attended the junior college of Elgin Academy. In 1916 he enrolled at Northwestern University, but his academic career was interrupted by World War I. From 1917 to 1919 he served in France as a member of the U.S. Army’s 311th Field Signal Battalion....

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Anthony N. Stranges and Richard C. Jones

Baekeland, Leo Hendrik (14 November 1863–23 February 1944), chemist and inventor, was born in St. Martens-Latem, near Ghent, Belgium, the son of Karel Baekeland, a cobbler, and Rosalia Merchie, a housemaid. A government scholarship enabled Baekeland to enter the University of Ghent, where he studied chemistry in the School of Exact Sciences. He received a B.S. in 1882 and a D.Sc. in organic chemistry in 1884, passing the examination with highest honors. The following year he became an assistant to Theodore Swarts, a professor of chemistry at Ghent. In 1887 Baekeland won a traveling scholarship in an academic competition sponsored by the Universities of Ghent, Liege, Brussels, and Louvain. He postponed travel and instead continued as an assistant professor and then as associate professor from 1888 to 1889 at Ghent and at the nearby Higher Normal School at Bruges from 1885 to 1887. In 1889 he married Swarts’s daughter, Céline, an artist; they had two children. The couple used Baekeland’s scholarship for travel to France, Britain, and the United States that year....

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Bailar, John Christian, Jr. (27 May 1904–17 October 1991), chemist and educator, was born in Golden, Colorado, the son of John Christian Bailar, an instructor in chemistry at the Colorado School of Mines at Golden, and Rachel Ella Work. His parents were the first married couple to enroll at and graduate from the University of Colorado. His father was a great raconteur, a trait that the son would share. Bailar often accompanied his father to his office-laboratory, where he acquired much chemical knowledge by performing simple laboratory operations, such as folding filter paper and pouring solutions through funnels....

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Bancroft, Edward (09 January 1744–08 September 1821), physician, scientist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Bancroft and Mary Ely, farmers. The elder Bancroft died in 1746 of an epileptic attack suffered in a pigpen, two months before the birth of his younger son, Daniel. His widow married David Bull of Westfield in 1751, and the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Bull operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern. Edward Bancroft was taught for a time by the recent Yale graduate ...

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Bancroft, Wilder Dwight (01 October 1867–07 February 1953), physical chemist, was born in Middletown, Rhode Island, the son of John Chandler Bancroft, a lawyer, stockbroker, and artist, and Louisa Mills Denny. Raised, in part, in the home of his grandfather, the historian George Bancroft...

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Benedict, Francis Gano (03 October 1870–14 May 1957), chemist and physiologist, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Washington Gano Benedict, a businessman, and Harriet Emily Barrett. In about 1878 the family moved to Orange Park, Florida, and in 1881 to Boston, Massachusetts, where Benedict attended public schools and took piano lessons because of his parents’ interest in music....

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Blodgett, Katharine Burr (10 January 1898–12 October 1979), chemist and inventor, was born in Schenectady, New York, the daughter of George Bedington Blodgett, a patent attorney for the General Electric Company, and Katharine Buchanan Burr. Her father was murdered a few weeks before her birth, a crime never solved. She grew up in reasonably comfortable circumstances in New York City, where her mother worked in child care. She attended Bryn Mawr College, graduating in 1917 with an A.B. and majoring in physics. She then undertook graduate study in chemistry at the University of Chicago, obtaining the M.S. degree in 1918....

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Bodley, Rachel Littler (07 December 1831–15 June 1888), botanist, chemist, and educator, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Anthony Prichard Bodley, a carpenter and patternmaker, and Rebecca Wilson Talbott, a teacher. An 1849 graduate in classical studies of Wesleyan Female College in Cincinnati, Rachel Bodley taught there and served as preceptor in higher college studies until 1860, when she decided to pursue her interests in botany and chemistry. She began advanced studies in the natural sciences at the Polytechnic College in Philadelphia in 1860 and returned to Ohio in early 1862 to accept a position as professor of natural sciences at the Cincinnati Female Seminary....

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Bolton, Elmer Keiser (23 June 1886–30 July 1968), chemist and industrial research director, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George Bolton, the owner of a men’s clothing store, and Jane Holt. After attending Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School and obtaining a B.A. from Bucknell University in 1908, Bolton undertook graduate studies at Harvard University. There, he received an A.M. in 1910 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1913 under ...

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Bolton, Henry Carrington (28 January 1843–19 November 1903), chemist and historian, was born in New York City, the only child of Jackson Bolton, a physician, and Anna Hinman North. Bolton graduated from Columbia College in 1862 after showing aptitude in mathematics and chemistry. Over the next four years he studied chemistry with some of the best minds in Europe: Jean-Baptiste-André Dumas at the Sorbonne and Charles-Adolphe Wurtz of the École de Médicine in Paris; Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Hermann Franz Moritz Kopp, and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff at the University of Heidelberg; Friedrich Wöhler at Göttingen; and August Wilhelm von Hofmann of the University of Berlin. In 1866, the year his father died, he was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen for his work “On the Fluorine Compounds of Uranium.” Throughout his stay in Europe, Bolton traveled the whole of the Continent, particularly in Switzerland, where he became an expert alpine climber....

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Boltwood, Bertram Borden (27 July 1870–14/15 Aug. 1927), radiochemist, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Kast Boltwood, an attorney, and Margaret Mathilda Van Hoesen. Despite his father’s death when Boltwood was two years old and the family’s relatively modest circumstances, his mother’s social position impelled him to be a student at Yale. Upon completion of the three-year course in chemistry at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School (1889–1892), Boltwood spent two years in Munich studying analytical procedures and the special chemistry of rare earth elements. He returned to Yale for the doctoral degree, which he received in 1897....