Frank R. Mayo
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
In this interview Dr. Frank Mayo first discusses his educational career as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Chicago. He then traces his professional career as a research chemist with DuPont, an instructor at the University of Chicago where his primary role was the supervision of Morris Kharasch's research group, a group leader at U. S. Rubber during and after World War II, a research associate at General Electric, and finally, a fellow at SRI International. He discusses his closest associates, explains his scientific work, and comments on the rise of free radical chemistry and the value of applying basic research to practical problems.
|1929||University of Chicago||BS||Chemistry|
|1931||University of Chicago||PhD||Chemistry|
University of Chicago
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
United States Rubber Company
General Electric Company
Award in Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society
Table of Contents
Parents (Frank and Clara Rea). Brother. Family finances. Early chemical influence. Scholarship to the University of Chicago. Other chemistry students. Courses. Offer to attend graduate school.
Financial support. Advanced organic chemistry text. Research problem. Morris Kharasch, research director. Other graduate students.
Research at DuPont. Paper on pyridine reduction.
Research director for Kharasch. Salary at Du Pont and Chicago. Chairman at Chicago. Running the Kharasch group. Kharasch's relations with other chemists. Kharasch's students. James Senior. Frank Westheimer. George Wheland. Influential organic chemists and physical organic chemists. Journal of Organic Chemistry. Halogenation of toluene. Competitive nature of Kharasch. Chemical Reviews article with Walling. Courses taught. Ph.D. students and their research problems. Leaving Chicago.
Location and description of laboratory. People in group. Research problems. Management support for basic research. Change in management attitude after World War II. Academic consultants. Chemical Reviews article on copolymerization with Walling.
Change in Kharasch's research directors. Status of free radical polymerization mechanisms in 1930.
Structure. Coworkers. Oxidation of olefins. Silicones.
Research. Financial support of research. Oxidation of polyolefins. Academic offers. Research on polymer aging. Basic research on practical problems. Contract arrangements with companies for basic research.
Kharasch contributions. Kharasch during and after World War II. Effect of World War II on organic chemistry and physical organic chemistry. Solvolysis studies.
Two major career breaks. Cheves Walling and his move from DuPont to U. S. Rubber. Kharasch's inability to place students in academic positions.
About the Interviewer
Leon Gortler is a professor of chemistry at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He holds AB and MS degrees from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard University where he worked with Paul Bartlett. He has long been interested in the history of chemistry, in particular the development of physical organic chemistry, and has conducted over fifty oral and videotaped interviews with major American chemists.