The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
In this interview, Michael Szwarc begins with his early interest in science while growing up in Poland, leading to his studies at the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute. Szwarc next describes his experiences from 1935, when he emigrated to Israel, until his move to the University of Manchester in 1945. At Manchester, he worked in Michael Polanyi's physical chemistry group and first embarked on his studies on polymerization. A 1950s visit to the USA, involving many lecture trips, is described, as are the circumstances leading to his acceptance of a professorship at SUNY, Syracuse. Research on the methyl affinities of aromatic compounds led Szwarc to work with the naphthalene radical anion and, hence, to the development of the living polymers. The interview ends with Szwarc reviewing his later studies and his reflections on co-workers and associates.
Audio recording of this interview is not available.
|1932||Warsaw University of Technology||Chemical Engineering|
|1942||Hebrew University of Jerusalem||PhD||Organic Chemistry|
|1947||University of Manchester||PhD||Physical Chemistry|
|1949||University of Manchester||DSc|
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
University of Manchester
State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
|1963 to 1964||
Royal Society Visiting Professor, University of Liverpool
Fellow of the Royal Society
|1969 to 1970||
Nobel Guest Professor, Uppsala University
Award in Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society
International Award, Plastics Science and Engineering
Baker Lecturer, Cornell University
Visiting Professor, Louvain University, Belgium
Hononrary DSc, University of Louvain
Honorary DSc, University of Uppsala
Lemieux Lecturer, University of Ottawa
Honorary DSc, Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, France
|1978 to 1979||
Visiting Professor, University of California, San Diego
Polymer Division Award, American Chemical Society
Table of Contents
Gymnasium in Poland, Infeld amongst teachers, early interest in science. Recent history of Poland. High school facilities, advanced lectures in physics and mathematics.
Course contents. Swietoslawski and calorimetry.
Barium sulfate, nucleation.
Teaching at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Absorption of scientific words into Hebrew. Faculty at the University, Ph.D. in organic chemistry. Wartime production of phosphoric acid.
Michael Polanyi. Bond dissociation energies, colleagues at Manchester. Poly-p-xylylene. Lecture tour of United States.
Studies of methyl affinities. Living polymers. Transport through polymer films. Visiting professor at Liverpool. Uppsala and Claesson, flash photolysis.
About the Interviewer
James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society. Bohning passed away in September 2011.