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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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Cooper, Thomas (22 October 1759–11 May 1839), lawyer, chemist, and educator, was born in London, England, the son of Thomas Cooper, a relatively wealthy landowner. The name of his mother is not known. Young Cooper attended University College at Oxford, where he was grounded in the classics. He left the university in 1779, refusing to sign the thirty-nine Articles of Faith required for a formal degree. In that year he married Alice Greenwood and attended medical courses in London in 1780. The couple, who eventually had five children, moved to Manchester. Cooper undertook some clinical work and was active in the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society; he was elected vice president in 1785. A growing familiarity with chemistry led him to join a firm of calico-printers near Bolton, his subsequent home. The discovery of the bleaching activity of chlorine in 1785 led Cooper to explore the production of the agent with James Watt. He practiced industrial bleaching successfully for some three years before 1793, when a depression in British trade caused the bankruptcy of his firm....

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Cope, Arthur Clay (27 June 1909–04 June 1966), chemistry professor and administrator, was born in Dunreith, Indiana, the son of Everett C. Cope and Jennie Compton, grain storage operators. Cope received the bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1929 from Butler University in Indianapolis. He then worked with ...

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Crafts, James Mason (04 March 1839–20 June 1917), chemist and professor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Royal Altemont Crafts, a New England woolen merchant and manufacturer, and Marianne Mason, the daughter of Jeremiah Mason, a U.S. senator from New Hampshire. As a child growing up in a prosperous Boston family, Crafts had opportunities to meet community leaders such as ...

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Doremus, Robert Ogden (11 January 1824–22 March 1906), chemist, teacher, and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas Cornelius Doremus, a merchant who was one of the founders of New York University, and Sarah Platt Haines, a social worker and philanthropist. He began his undergraduate study in New York at Columbia College but moved after a year to New York University, where he received his A.B. in 1842, his M.A. in 1845, and his M.D. in 1850. In 1847 he studied chemistry and metallurgy in Paris, and during all of his graduate school years, from 1843 to 1850, he was assistant to the English-born chemist at New York University, Dr. ...

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Frazer, John Fries (08 July 1812–12 October 1872), scientist and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Frazer, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Fries. By the time he was eight, both Frazer’s mother and father had died, and he spent the rest of his childhood in the care of guardians, including his maternal grandfather, John Fries, a Captain Partridge at his Connecticut military academy, and finally the family of the Reverend Samuel B. Wylie, who trained him in classics and mathematics and prepared him for the University of Pennsylvania....

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Giauque, William Francis (12 May 1895–28 March 1982), chemist and educator, was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, the son of William Tecumseh Sherman Giauque, a railroad worker, and Isabella Jane Duncan. Because his parents were U.S. citizens their three children, although born in Canada, also had U.S. citizenship. When Giauque was a boy, the family lived in Michigan, where he attended school until the age of thirteen, when his father died and the family returned to his hometown. That same year Giauque entered the Niagara Falls Collegiate and Vocational Institute, intending to complete the two-year commercial course so that he, as the oldest son, could help support the family. His mother, however, assisted by the family of local chemist John W. Beckman (for whom she worked part time as a seamstress), persuaded Giauque to switch to the five-year college preparatory program. He initially thought that he would pursue a major in electrical engineering, but in order to make some money as well as gain some engineering experience, he worked for two years at the Hooker Electrochemical Company in Niagara Falls, New York, and his experience in the company’s laboratory led him to study chemical rather than electrical engineering....

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Griscom, John (27 September 1774–26 February 1852), teacher, chemist, and philanthropist, was born in Hancock’s Bridge, New Jersey, the son of William Griscom, a farmer and saddle and harness maker, and Rachel Denn. Educated in country schools except for a few months in 1783 at Friends’ Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was self-taught in chemistry and physics. Griscom began teaching at a log cabin school near Salem, New Jersey, when he was seventeen. In 1794 he took charge of the Friends’ School in Burlington, New Jersey, where he taught chemistry to advanced pupils in a room in his house that he had converted into a laboratory....

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Hildebrand, Joel Henry (16 November 1881–30 April 1983), chemist and educator, was born in Camden, New Jersey, the son of Howard Ovid Hildebrand, who was in the life insurance business, and Sarah Regina Swartz. He was reared in Camden and later in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where he attended high school. His interest in natural science was aroused by reading such texts as ...

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Hogness, Thorfin Rusten (09 December 1894–14 February 1976), chemist and educator, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Peter Gunerius Hogness and Amanda Rusten. He was educated at the University of Minnesota, where he received a B.S. in chemistry in 1918 and a Chem.E. in 1919, and the University of California at Berkeley, at which he earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1921, working under the noted chemist ...

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Jones, Harry Clary (11 November 1865–09 April 1916), professor of chemistry and physical chemist, was born in New London, Maryland, the son of William Jones and Johanna Clary, prosperous farmers. He was raised in his grandfather’s house and received his early education in a small country schoolhouse near his home. His studies continued with one year under Edward Reisler, principal of the high school in Union Bridge, Maryland, and approximately another year at Western Maryland College, which he left for reasons of poor health. After three years of home study, Jones applied for admission to Johns Hopkins University, noting his interests as German, French, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. His previous readings included ...

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Latimer, Wendell Mitchell (22 April 1893–06 July 1955), chemist and educator, was born in Garnett, Kansas, the son of Walter Latimer, a bank manager, and Emma Mitchell. When Latimer was three, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri. Five years later, his father died of typhoid fever. He and his impoverished mother spent a winter with his uncle at Abingdon, Illinois, and then lived at his grandfather’s farm near Greeley, Kansas. There he attended elementary school and a year of high school but then transferred to the much better Garnett High School ten miles away and spent only weekends at the farm....

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Libby, Willard Frank (17 December 1908–08 September 1980), chemist and university professor, was born in Grand Valley, Colorado, the son of Ora Edward Libby and Eva May Rivers, farmers. When Libby was five his family moved to Santa Rosa, California. After graduation from high school in Sebastapol, he entered the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in chemistry. He received a B.S. in 1931 and a Ph.D. in chemistry two years later....

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Nef, John Ulric (14 June 1862–13 August 1915), chemist and professor, was born in Herisau, Appenzell, Switzerland, the son of Johann Ulric Nef, a textile worker, and Anna Mock. His father immigrated to the United States in 1864 and worked at a textile mill in Housatonic, Massachusetts, where his family joined him in 1868. Nef was encouraged by his father to enjoy music, to work hard in school and at farm chores, and to cultivate sports. Nef played baseball, swam, and in later life was a vigorous hiker, mountain climber, and tennis player. As an undergraduate at Harvard, he became fascinated by chemistry and gave up his original plan to study medicine. He received scholarships to pay his way and graduated near the top of his class in 1884. He was awarded a Kirkland scholarship, which allowed him to spend three years of graduate work in Adolf von Baeyer’s laboratory in Munich, then a leading center of research in organic chemistry. Nef’s thesis was on quinone carboxylic acids, a topic suggested by Baeyer, who regarded him as one of his most brilliant students. He received his Ph.D. in 1886, summa cum laude. In Munich he indulged his life-long interest in music....

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Noyes, W. Albert, Jr. (18 April 1898–25 November 1980), chemist and educator, was born William Albert Noyes, Jr., in Terre Haute, Indiana, the son of William Albert Noyes, a chemistry professor and the future president of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and Flora Collier. His father was a deeply religious man who was active in the Congregational church and was a pacifist. Noyes, Jr., was raised in the old-fashioned, God-fearing New England tradition, against which he early rebelled. Although he never thereafter associated himself with any organized religion, he was upright, responsible, and ethical, exhibiting a great devotion to duty and an absolutely rigid integrity, along with great kindness and consideration for others and a total lack of meanness or pettiness....

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Parr, Samuel Wilson (21 January 1857–16 May 1931), chemist and educator, was born in Granville, Illinois, the son of James Parr and Elizabeth Fidelia Moore. After attending the academy in Granville, he entered Illinois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois), where he was active in athletics, especially baseball (he was the first president of the Athletic Association), and in public speaking (he won the university oratory contest and represented the university at the state oratorical contest). A staff member of the university publication, ...

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Peter, Robert (21 January 1805–26 April 1894), teacher and chemist, was born in Launceston, Cornwall, England, the son of Robert Peter and Johanna Dawe. He came to the United States in 1817 with his parents, who first settled the family in Baltimore, then later relocated to Pittsburgh, where young Robert served an apprenticeship with a local druggist. In 1828 he became a naturalized citizen and attended ...

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Pimentel, George Claude (02 May 1922–18 June 1989), chemist and educator, was born on a small ranch in Rolinda, near Fresno, California, the son of Emile J. Pimentel, a construction worker, and Lorraine Alice Laval. Pimentel’s parents encouraged their two sons, George and Joe, to get a good education. Emile Pimentel also encouraged his sons, who did everything together, to tinker with tools and improvise instruments, a talent that later became a hallmark of Pimentel’s chemistry career....

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Porter, John Addison (15 March 1822–25 August 1866), chemist, professor, and university administrator, was born in Catskill, New York, the son of Addison Porter, a merchant, and Ann Hogeboom. His family moved to New York City in 1831 and to Philadelphia in 1836. After attending the Kinderhook, New York, academy, Porter had private instruction in Philadelphia until 1838, when he enrolled at Yale College. A somewhat erratic student—inclined to fail in assignments that were considered easy but brilliant at mathematics and a voracious reader of poetry and fiction—he studied metaphysics and read Kant in translation during his senior year. Hoping to become a Presbyterian minister, as his paternal grandfather had been, he was frustrated by a “persistent skepticism” that he considered the “great calamity” of his undergraduate years. It troubled him until 1860, when he joined St. John’s Episcopal Church of New Haven, Connecticut. Graduating from Yale in 1842 and still hoping to be called to the ministry, he studied Hebrew and modern languages at his parents’ home in Philadelphia, returned to New Haven for a sample of theological study, and then accepted a new vocation....

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Remsen, Ira (10 February 1846–04 March 1927), chemist and educator, was born in New York City, the son of James Vanderbilt Remsen, a merchant, and Rosanna Secor. At age fourteen he entered the Free Academy (now the City University of New York), where he emphasized Latin and Greek. He left before graduating and, at the urging of his father, began an apprenticeship to a homeopathic physician and studies in a homeopathic medical school. He found this unsatisfactory and transferred to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, receiving an M.D. in 1867 and a prize for his thesis, “Fatty Degeneration of the Liver.” He later commented critically on his medical education, “I had in fact never seen a liver that had undergone fatty degeneration nor a patient who … was supposed to possess one.”...