Warren G. Schlinger
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Warren G. Schlinger begins the interview by tracing his family heritage. As a boy, Schlinger's family moved around in California to accommodate his father's employment with the United Parcel Service of America, Inc. It was in the sixth grade, Schlinger asserts, that his career began in earnest. His introduction to chemistry came in the form of a Gilbert Chemistry Set owned by a friend. It was not until the eleventh grade that he was formally taught in the subject, and by then he was already collaborating with classmates on experiments. While a young man, Schlinger began to attend public lectures at California Institute of Technology where he eventually was accepted and completed his education, earning a doctorate in mechanical and chemical engineering. After four years of post-doctoral research with Bruce H. Sage, Schlinger moved into the world of industrial research with Texaco, Inc. Schlinger spent the entirety of his career at the research lab in Montebello, California as an innovative and enthusiastic force within the West Coast branch of research and technology at the oil company. Schlinger recollects the history of Texaco, and especially, of the Montebello research facility. He shares aspects of his private life—stories of meeting his wife Katharine, the successes of their three children, and the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Foundation that the Schlinger family established and manages. He concludes the interview by reflecting on his career and the evolution of chemical engineering at Caltech.
|1944||California Institute of Technology||BS||Applied Chemistry|
|1946||California Institute of Technology||MS||Chemical Engineering|
|1949||California Institute of Technology||PhD||Chemical and Mechanical Engineering|
California Institute of Technology
Texaco Montebello Research Laboratory
Technical Achievement Award, AIChE, Southern California Section
Chemical Engineering Practice Award, AIChE
KFA Achievement Award, Electric Power Research Institute
National Academy of Engineering
Table of Contents
Family lineage and career background. Introduction to chemistry in the sixth grade. Attending the Evening Demonstration Lectures at Caltech. Application and admission to Caltech. The resonance of World War II on the Caltech campus.
Katharine Schlinger recalls meeting her husband and their early life together. The Caltech experience. Working with Bruce H. Sage and William N. Lacey. Course requirements and expectations for chemical engineering graduate studies. Teaching and post-doctorate work with Bruce H. Sage.
Career choices and the transition from academia to industry. Catalytic cracking and fluid bed technology at Texaco, Inc. History of the research laboratory at Montebello, California. Working on the economic retrieval of oil from oil shale. Development of Texfining.
Licensing of Texaco technology. Research at Montebello in the context of Texaco, Inc. Tackling coal technology at Texaco. Turning down the opportunity to return to Caltech. Overview of positions with Texaco. The Electric Power and Research Institute's interest in Montebello research. Development of combined cycle coal gasification.
Re-establishment of a relationship with Caltech and alumni. Retirement in 1987. Current activities in industry, attending lectures, and consulting. Family activities such as travel and management of the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Foundation. Reflection on a successful career.
About the Interviewer
Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.