Donald S. Noyce
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Donald Noyce begins the interview with a discussion of his childhood home in Iowa. He discusses his family and their strong academic tradition, his years at Grinnell College, and his early training as a chemist. He also details his graduate training at Columbia University, including his work with Bill (William von Eggers) Doering, his courses, research, and the University's atmosphere. Next, he discusses his position at the University of California at Berkeley. He describes the faculty, the chemistry administration, and the changing atmosphere with respect to organic chemistry. He describes briefly his interaction with other faculty, his research, and his graduate students. Finally, he discusses the development of physical organic chemistry from the turn of the century to 1980.
|1947||Columbia University||PhD||Organic Chemistry|
University of California, Berkeley
Guggenheim Fellowship (Europe)
National Science Foundation Senior Fellow
Berkeley Citation, University of California, Berkeley
Establishment of the annual Donald Sterling Noyce Prize, University of California, Berkeley
Table of Contents
Brief discussion of family history. Attending college. Campus life during World War II. Chemistry faculty and graduates. Graduate applications to Illinois and Columbia. The Roberts Fellowship at Columbia.
War research at Columbia. Thermo with V. K. LaMer. Natural products with Pop (John M. ) Nelson. Organic lab with William von Eggers Doering. Alkaloids with Elderfield. Doering as a person and teacher. Choosing a research director. Postdoctoral work. Ruth Alice Weill and the Katonah Laboratory. Apocryphal tale of promotion meeting. Hammett course in 1945.
Being hired at Berkeley. Facilities and faculty. Influence of G. N. Lewis on the department. Influence of Wendell Latimer after Lewis' retirement. Changes in the role of organic chemistry. Lack of "political" orientation of Berkeley faculty. Bill Dauben. Melvin Calvin's teaching. Long term project on acid catalyzed reactions. Hiring Andrew Streitwieser at Berkeley.
Transition in organic chemistry. The development of physical organic chemistry. Changes at Berkeley. Effect of World War II. Physical organic chemistry today (1981). Aborted beginning to physical organic chemistry circa 1900.
Note written by Donald S. Noyce in July 2000.
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.