Andrew Streitweiser

Born: June 23, 1927 | Buffalo, NY, US

Andrew Streitwieser begins his oral history interview by describing his family, early education, and education at Columbia University, stressing the influence of William Doering upon his work. Streitwieser describes the emergence of organic chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and his own ambitious and productive research program there.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0007
No. of pages: 38
Minutes: 123

Interview Sessions

Leon B. Gortler
22 January 1981
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Abstract of Interview

Andrew Streitwieser begins this interview by describing his family, early education, and undergraduate days at Columbia University. He then discusses his graduate education at Columbia, stressing the influence of William Doering upon his work, and his research on molecular orbital theory as a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Finally, Streitwieser describes the emergence of organic chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and his own ambitious and productive research program there.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1948 Columbia University AB Chemistry
1950 Columbia University MA Chemistry
1952 Columbia University PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

University of California, Berkeley

1952 to 1963
Instructor to Associate Professor
1963 to 1983
Professor
1964 to 1965
Fellow, Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science
1979 to 1980
Fellow, Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science

Honors

Year(s) Award
1958 to 1962

Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

1959 to 1960

Faculty Fellow, National Science Foundation

1967

ACS Award in Petroleum Chemistry, American Chemical Society

1969

Guggenheim Fellow

1976

Senior Scientist Award, Humboldt Foundation

1982

Physical Organic Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society

Table of Contents

Family Background and Early Education
1

Parents and siblings. Scientific interests in grade school. An early publication on fluorene. Chemical experiments during high school. Organic Specialties.

Undergraduate Work at Columbia University Before the War
7

Coursework in chemistry. Doering, Woodward, and early organic chemistry. The influence of Doering and Weaver. Army service.

Education at Columbia University after the War
13

Completing undergraduate work. Courses in physical and quantitative chemistry. Beginning graduate work. Friends and colleagues at Doering's lab.

William Doering and his Research Lab
17

The seminars and their importance. Organic chemistry in transition. Research in solvolyses. A lab in Katonah.

A Research Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
22

Working with Jack Roberts. Molecular orbital theory and calculations. Saunders and other colleagues.

The Beginnings of Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley
26

The dominance of physical chemistry. Jensen, Heathcock, Stewart, Olsen, and the rise of organic chemistry. Don Noyce and Bill Dauben.

Research Projects at Berkeley
29

Reaction mechanisms with stereochemistry. Testing Huckel's MO theory. Deuterium isotopes. The relation of organic and physical chemistry today.

About the Interviewer

Leon B. Gortler

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.