Oral history interview with George M. Wyman

Oral history interview with George M. Wyman

  • 2013-May-01 (First session)
  • 2013-May-02 (Second session)

George M. Wyman was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1921. Wyman attended the Lutheran Gimnázium in Budapest until World War II threatened, leaving for the United States to become a chemist. Wyman entered Cornell University as a sophomore finishing his degree in two and a half years. He remained at Cornell for his master's and PhD degrees, working on fluorine chemistry. His research interests fell between the fields of physical and organic chemistry. Wyman began his career in industry working with fluorine compounds and developed his expertise in dye chemistry. During his years at the National Bureau of Standards, Wyman conducted various spectrophotometric measurements of indigo and azo dyes, resulting in some twenty publications. In a decades-long career working for the US Army, Wyman taught himself fluorescence techniques and continued his work on isomerization of dyes. Working for the Army's European Research Office, he identified and established networks of chemists whose work could be useful to the Army. Returning from Europe, Wyman was able to conduct research at University of North Carolina. In the sixties Wyman established the International Conference on Photochemistry. After retiring, he spent ten years consulting, bringing people and universities together with funding.

Property Value
Place of interview
Original file type PDF, FLAC
  • 83 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewers

David J. Caruso earned a BA in the history of science, medicine, and technology from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a PhD in science and technology studies from Cornell University in 2008. Caruso is the director of the Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute, president of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and editor for the Oral History Review. In addition to overseeing all oral history research at the Science History Institute, he also holds an annual training institute that focuses on conducting interviews with scientists and engineers, he consults on various oral history projects, like at the San Diego Technology Archives, and is adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching courses on the history of military medicine and technology and on oral history.  His current research interests are the discipline formation of biomedical science in 20th-century America and the organizational structures that have contributed to such formation.

Jody A. Roberts is the Director of the Institute for Research at the Science History Institute. He received his PhD and MS in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech and holds a BS in chemistry from Saint Vincent College. His research focuses on the intersections of regulation, innovation, environmental issues, and emerging technologies within the chemical sciences.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

  • October 13, 1921
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • October 10, 2017
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1941 Cornell University AB Chemistry
1943 Cornell University MS Chemistry
2016 Cornell University PhD Organic Chemistry

Professional Experience

Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation

  • 1944 to 1945

General Aniline & Film Corporation

  • 1945 to 1949 Research Chemist

United States. National Bureau of Standards

  • 1949 to 1953 Research Chemist

Quartermaster Research and Development Center

  • 1954 to 1956 Chief of Spectroscopy Section

United States. Army

  • 1956 to 1960 Chief, Chemistry Branch, European Research Office
  • 1960 to 1974 Directory, Chemistry Division
  • 1974 to 1977 Director, Chemical and Biological Sciences Division
  • 1977 to 1983 Chief of Chemistry, European Research Office
  • 1983 to 1985 Director, Chemical & Biological Sciences Division, Research Office

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

  • 1972 to 1973 Sabbatical

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • 1973 to 1977 Adjunct Professor of Chemistry
  • 1983 to 1985 Adjunct Professor of Chemistry


  • 1985 to 1995 Consultant

Cite as

George M. Wyman, interviewed by Jody A. Roberts and David J. Caruso in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 1, 2013. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0708. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/41687j72p.

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The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads