Oral history interview with Norman Hackerman

Oral history interview with Norman Hackerman

  • 1995-Feb-08
Photograph of Norman Hackerman
CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas A. Lockard

In this, his third of three interviews with James J. Bohning of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Norman Hackerman begins by reviewing the origins of his association with The Electrochemical Society [ECS], which was related to his interest in the oxygen electrode as a student. He recalls his first paper, presented at an ECS conference and published in the Transactions of the American Electrochemical Society, and the first colleagues he met at this ECS meeting. He next describes the character of The ECS at that time, comparing it with the American Chemical Society [ACS], as well as the origins of the society's journal and his involvement in publication and editorial activities. Hackerman touches briefly upon his committee work before examining the growth, structure, membership, and functions of The ECS during his appointments. Finally he describes achievements and obstacles during his tenure as Vice President and then President, and his view of the Society's influence on electrochemistry and related fields.

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Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3, JPEG
  • 31 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 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.

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Interviewee biographical information

  • March 02, 1912
  • Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • June 16, 2007
  • Temple, Texas, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1932 Johns Hopkins University AB Chemistry
1935 Johns Hopkins University PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Loyola College in Maryland

  • 1935 to 1939 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Colloid Corporation

  • 1936 to 1940 Research Chemist

United States. Coast Guard

  • 1939 to 1941 Assistant Chemist

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

  • 1941 to 1943 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Kellex Corporation

  • 1944 to 1945 Research Chemist

University of Texas at Austin

  • 1945 to 1946 Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • 1946 to 1950 Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • 1948 to 1961 Director, Corrosion Research Laboratory
  • 1950 to 1970 Professor of Chemistry
  • 1952 to 1961 Chairman, Chemistry Department
  • 1960 to 1961 Dean of Research and Sponsored Programs
  • 1961 to 1963 Vice President and Provost
  • 1963 to 1967 Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  • 1967 to 1970 President
  • 1985 Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Rice University

  • 1970 to 1985 President
  • 1970 to 1985 Professor of Chemistry
  • 1985 President Emeritus
  • 1985 Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Robert A. Welch Foundation

  • 1982 Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board


Year(s) Award
1956 Whitney Award, National Association of Corrosion Engineers
1964 Joseph L. Mattiello Award
1965 Palladium Medal, The Electrochemical Society
1965 Southwest Regional Award, American Chemical Society
1972 LLD, St. Edwards University
1975 DSc, Austin College
1975 Honor Scroll, Texas Institute of Chemists
1978 DSc, Texas Christian University
1978 LLD, Abilene Christian University
1978 Gold Medal, American Institute of Chemists
1981 Mirabeau B. Lamar Award, Association of Texas Colleges and Universities
1982 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Johns Hopkins University
1984 Edward Goodrich Acheson Award, The Electrochemical Society
1984 Alumni Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, Rice University
1987 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award
1987 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1993 Vannevar Bush Award, National Science Board
1993 Doctor of Public Service, University of North Texas
1993 National Medal of Science
1999 Texas Distinguished Scientist Award, Texas Academy of Science

Cite as

Norman Hackerman, interviewed by James J. Bohning in University of Texas at Austin on February 8, 1995. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0083C. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/6108vc21q.

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PDF — 154 KB

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