Cheves Walling

Born: February 28, 1916 | Evanston, IL, US
Died: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Hillsborough, NH, US

Cheves Walling begins his oral history interview by describing his family and education at Harvard and the University of Chicago, stressing the major review article on the peroxide effect that he and Frank Mayo wrote in 1940. Walling next examines the research that he undertook at DuPont, US Rubber, and Lever Brothers, emphasizing the work that he did before 1950 at US Rubber. Finally, Walling examines his academic career at Columbia and the University of Utah. Throughout the interview he reflects upon the emergence and maturation of physical organic chemistry.

Access This Interview

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0009
No. of pages: 38
Minutes: 211

Interview Sessions

Leon B. Gortler
12 September 1979
Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC

Abstract of Interview

Cheves Walling begins this interview by describing his family, early education, and undergraduate days at Harvard. He then discusses his graduate education at the University of Chicago, stressing the major review article on the peroxide effect that he and Frank Mayo wrote in 1940. Walling next examines the research that he undertook at DuPont, US Rubber, and Lever Brothers, emphasizing the work that he did before 1950 at US Rubber. Finally, Walling examines his academic career at Columbia and the University of Utah. Throughout the interview he reflects upon the emergence and maturation of physical organic chemistry.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1937 Harvard University BA Chemistry
2016 University of Chicago PhD Organic Chemistry

Professional Experience

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.

1939 to 1942
Research Chemist

United States Rubber Company

1943 to 1949
Research Chemist

Levers Brothers Company

1949 to 1952
Research Associate

Columbia University

1952 to 1970
Professor
1963 to 1966
Chairman

University of Utah

1970
Distinguished Professor

Honors

Year(s) Award
1964

Elected to National Academy of Sciences

1965

Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

1971

James Flack Norris Award, American Chemical Society

1975

Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society

Table of Contents

Family and Youth
1

Parents. A famous uncle. Familial influences. Youth in Winnetka. Early schooling and interest in science.

Undergraduate Education at Harvard
3

Influences of professors. Chemistry courses and textbooks. Research with C. H. Fisher and Max Tishler. Perceptions of chemistry. Classmates who became chemists.

Graduate Education at Chicago
7

Morris Kharasch and other organic chemists at Chicago. Wheland's and Westheimer's courses. Completion of the PhD degree. The Kharasch group. Major review article with Mayo. Books and scientific papers read. Approach to organic chemistry.

Professional Career in Industry
13

Research position at DuPont. Marriage. State of organic chemistry around 1940. Research and colleagues at US Rubber Co. Work at the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Organic chemistry in the postwar period. The Organic Reactions Mechanisms Conference of 1946. Papers published. Research at Lever Brothers.

Academic Career
25

Position at Columbia University. Colleagues. Creating a research group. Comments about graduate students. Chairmanship of chemistry department. Consulting for industry. The move to the University of Utah. Editorship of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Contributions to the field of chemistry.

Developments in Physical Organic Chemistry
29

Possible gap in development early in this century. Dichotomy between physical chemists and organic chemists. Transition from classical to modern organic chemistry. State of physical organic chemistry today.

Index
34

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.