Hubert N. Alyea

Born: October 10, 1903 | Clifton, NJ, US
Died: Saturday, October 19, 1996 | Hightstown, NJ, US

Hubert N. Alyea was an internationally-known popularizer of chemistry. His public demonstrations and academic lectures won him numerous awards and brought the beauty of chemistry to his students and interested laypeople alike. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0010
No. of pages: 238
Minutes: 238

Interview Sessions

Jeffrey L. Sturchio and Ron Doel
22 and 30 May 1986
Princeton, New Jersey

Abstract of Interview

No available abstract.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1925 Princeton University AB Chemistry
1926 Princeton University AM Chemistry
2016 Princeton University PhD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

General Electric Company

1926 to 1927
American-Scandinavian Fellowship, Nobel Institute, Stockholm

Princeton University

1927 to 1928
Proctor Fellow
1930 to 1934
Instructor in Chemistry
1934 to 1940
Assistant Professor
1940 to 1954
Associate Professor
1954 to 1972
Professor
1972 to 1992
Professor Emeritus

Kaiser Wilhelm Institute

1929 to 1930
International Research Fellow

University of Minnesota

1928 to 1929
National Research Felow

Honors

Year(s) Award
1949 to 1950

Visiting Professor, University of Hawaii

1954

New Jersey Science Teachers Award

1957

New Jersey Education Citation

1958

Lecturer, International Exposition, Brussels

1962

Lecturer, International Exposition, Seattle

1964

Chemical Manufacturers Association Award

1967

Lecturer, International Exposition, Montreal

1970

Award in Chemical Education, American Chemical Society

1970

Honorary D. Sc. , Beaver College

1970

James Flack Norris Award, Northeast Section, American Chemical Society

1984

Priestley Award, Dickinson College

1991

Robert H. Carleton Award, National Science Teachers Association

Table of Contents

Vitae and Honors
2
Childhood
6
I choose my Bride
8
Hubert becomes a Chemist
10

Ethan, my older brother, supplies a Role-Model. Edwin, the younger of my two brothers, supplies a Lab Manual. My Father supplies the Chemicals.

Undergraduate College Years
15

Playing the cello. The Triangle Club. Playing the 'cello for Hollywood's great. The Banjo Club. A Triangle song: Marriage by Radio. "

My bout with Polio
20

My mother.

The Princeton Chemical Faculty
27

My Princeton Professors (1920–1928). Later Professors (1930–1950). Chemistry Staff (1984–1985). My Elementary and Inorganic Chemistry Teachers. My Analytical Chemistry Teachers. My Organic Chemistry Teachers. Origin of the Frick Chemical Lab. My Physical Chemistry Teachers.

Hubert chooses a Teaching Career
44
J. N. Bronsted. Copenhagen
47

Nobel Institute as an American-Scandinavian Fellow.

Svante Arrhenius
49
My Ph.D. Thesis
53

Chain Reactions and the Theory of Inhibition illustrated by the Domino Effect.

I win my Father-in-Law's approval
57
Industrial vs. Academic Careers
59
Later Princeton Chemistry Professors
61
University of Minnesota
62

National Research Fellow with S. C. Lind.

ACS Fall Meeting, Minnesota
67

Bonhoeffer demonstrates ortho-para hydrogen. Bodenstein advocates a new unit: THE EINSTEIN.

University of Berlin
70

Max Bodenstein. Walter Nernst.

Nobel Prizemen
73

With whom I have worked: Arrhenius, Haber, Hinshelwood, Pauling.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin-Dahlem
74

Scientists there. International Research Fellow with Fritz Haber. Albert Einstein. In Berlin-Dahlem. In Princeton

Consulting for Röhm and Haas
89
Henry Eyring comes to Princeton
91
Cooperation of the Sciences in Princeton
94
Quantum Mechanics for the Russian Peasant
95
Mr. Ortho-dichloro Benzene
97
Sputnik
99
Fireside Precepts
103
Soirees at (H. P. ) Robertson's home
104
Conception of the computer
109
Any top scientist?
112
I invent an automatic slide-changer
115
Wendell Willkie
117
Civilian Defense in NJ
121
ESMWT (War Training Courses)
126
Atomic Energy lecture
129

LIFE magazine and Karsh.

Hawaii: Serfdom to Capitalism
131
A Pauling Family reunion
133
Tested Demonstrations
136
Predicting the H-bomb from its lithium flame
142
The Old Nassau Reaction
144

Nassau Hall; the song. British armory, 1777. First telegraph (Joseph) Henry, 1830. First Undergraduate Chem Lab, 1797.

The Absent-minded Professor
149
Projection of experiments (TOPS)
156
UNESCO in Bangkok
156
Armchair Chemistry
156
US-South Africa Leader Exchange
156
Co-education in Princeton
189
My Public Lectures
191

Atomic Energy: Weapon for Peace (1945–1960). Lucky Accidents, Great Discoveries, and the Prepared Mind (1960–1988). Teaching Techniques (1960–1988).

Special thanks to three colleagues
200
Accolades
201

1939–1991

Publications
225
Other Items
239
Around the World in 80 Years
241
Index
243

"

About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Sturchio

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ron Doel