Oral history interview with Fred Basolo

Oral history interview with Fred Basolo

  • 2002-Sep-27

Fred Basolo begins the interview discussing his arrival at Northwestern University as an inorganic chemist in 1946. At that time, organic chemistry dominated the field of chemistry, and inorganic chemistry was seen as insignificant. Over the next few years, inorganic chemistry developed into a substantial component of chemistry. Basolo played a major role in that expansion -- what he refers to as "the birth of inorganic chemistry." The formation of the Inorganic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference, which Basolo helped organize, was a key factor in inorganic chemistry's rising significance. Although there was no funding for the first conference and attendees had to pay their own travel and registration expenses, enough chemists participated to make the Inorganic GRC successful, and it developed into an annual event. Basolo describes the Inorganic GRC, as well as his heavy involvement in it, for which the conference presented him an award for his fifty years of service. Basolo also talks about his graduate studies under John C. Bailar, Jr., a coordination chemist for whom Basolo had a great deal of respect, and who instigated the first Inorganic Chemistry GRC. Following in Bailar's footsteps, Basolo specialized in coordination chemistry, and discovered the coboglobin site. Basolo also discusses his role in GRC governance, first being nominated to council, then to the board of trustees, and eventually becoming the board chairman. Basolo had concerns that the rapid growth of the organization and the Inorganic Conference could cause applicants to be turned away. Basolo ends his interview with his thoughts about the future of chemistry and GRC.

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Original file type MP3, PDF
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  • 30 pages
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Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
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  • Science History Institute
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  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

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Fred Basolo, interviewed by Arthur Daemmrich in Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) on September 27, 2002. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0264. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/5425kb591.

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Transcript (Published Version)

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

4 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads