Walter H. Stockmayer
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
In the first interview, Walter Stockmayer describes early influences directing him towards the chemical sciences. Stockmayer first became interested in the mathematical aspects of physical chemistry as an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). A Rhodes Scholarship brought Stockmayer to Oxford University, where he undertook gas kinetics research with D. L. Chapman. Stockmayer returned to MIT for PhD research and pursued his study of statistical mechanics, which he later continued at Columbia University. He returned again to MIT in 1943 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became involved in the theory of network formation and the gelation criterion. Stockmayer increasingly directed his attention to theories of polymer solutions, light scattering and chain dynamics. The second interview begins with Stockmayer's Guggenheim Fellowship in Strasbourg, France, his first meeting with Hermann Staudinger in Freiburg, Germany, and his subsequent return to MIT. Stockmayer then moved to Dartmouth University in 1961, where he worked primarily on copolymers in dilute solution, established the journal Macromolecules, and collaborated with numerous Japanese scientists. He discusses his impression of the Gordon Conferences and the polymer community since the 1940s. Stockmayer concludes with his retirement and work as a consultant for DuPont and other companies.
|1935||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||SB|
|1937||University of Oxford||BSc|
|1940||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||PhD|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|1935 to 1937||
Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
|1954 to 1955||
Stas Medal, Société Chimique de Belgique
National Academy of Sciences
Bourke Lecturer, Faraday Society
College Chemistry Teacher Award, Manufacturing Chemists Association
Polymer Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society
Honorary Doctorate, Université‚Äö Louis-Pasteur, Strasbourg, France
Debye Award in Physical Chemistry, American Chemical Society
High Polymer Physics Prize, American Physical Society
Honorary Fellow, Jesus College, Oxford
Honor Scroll, Massachusetts Institute of Chemists
Humboldt Preis, Humboldt Foundation, West Germany
Distinguished Lecturer Award, Polymer Science Department, University of Massachusetts
Honorary LHD, Dartmouth College
Service Award, Division of Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society
National Medal of Science
Richards Medal, Northeastern Section, American Chemical Society
Polymer Chemistry Division Award, American Chemical Society
Table of Contents
Growing up in New Jersey. Influence of father, an organic chemist. High school interests.
Settling in as freshman at MIT. Faculty, lecture and laboratory courses. Senior Project.
Rhodes scholarship. D. L. Chapman and research on catalyst poisoning. Oxford dons and colleagues. Graduate Studies PVT relations for hydrocarbon mixtures. Theoretical interests. Fellow students.
Joseph and Maria Mayer, mathematical treatments. Colleagues at Columbia. Flory and gelation theory.
Changes in faculty and direction of chemical research interests. Light scattering and polymer solution theories. Gordon Research Conferences. Effect of computers on polymer solution theory.
Strasbourg, France. Impression of European polymer chemistry. Final years at MIT.
Reason for move. Paper on copolymers in dilute solution. Colleagues and students. Impression of Dartmouth. NRC Army Research Advisory Committee. ACS Polymer Division Chairmanship. Founding of Macromolecules. Impression of polymer community and Gordon Conferences.
Collaboration with Japanese scientists. Sabbatical in Freiburg. Retirement.
Nature of academic/industrial collaboration. Mechanics of consulting. Consulting with other companies. Relationship with Paul Flory. Family.
About the Interviewer
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.
Peter J. T. Morris is currently at the Department of the History of Science and Technology of the Open University, where he is Royal Society-British Academy Research Fellow. Morris was educated at Oxford University receiving his BA, chemistry in 1978; DPhil, modern history in 1983, and he was a research fellow at the Open University from 1982 to 1984. During the period 1985–1987, Peter Morris was Assistant Director for Special Projects at the Beckman Center. He was the Royal Society–British Academy Research Fellow at the Open University, Milton Keynes, between 1987 and 1991, and Edelstein International Fellow in 1991–92. He is author of the monographs, Archives of the British Chemical Industry, 1800–1914 and Polymer Pioneers; his volume The American Synthetic Rubber Research Program was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in December 1989. Morris also co-edited Milestones in 150 Years of the Chemical Industry in 1991 and The Development of Plastics in 1994.