Oral history interview with Walter H. Stockmayer

Oral history interview with Walter H. Stockmayer

  • 1986-Aug-25 (First session)
  • 1992-Jan-22 (Second session)

In the first interview, Walter Stockmayer describes early influences directing him towards the chemical sciences. Stockmayer first became interested in the mathematical aspects of physical chemistry as an undergraduate at MIT. A Rhodes Scholarship brought Stockmayer to Oxford, where he undertook gas kinetics research with D. L. Chapman. Stockmayer returned to MIT for Ph.D. research and pursued his study of statistical mechanics, which he later continued at Columbia. He returned again to MIT in 1943 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became involved in the theory of network formation and the gelation criterion. Stockmayer increasingly directed his attention to theories of polymer solutions, light scattering and chain dynamics.

The second interview begins with Stockmayer's Guggenheim Fellowship in Strasbourg, France, his first meeting with Hermann Staudinger in Freiburg, Germany, and his subsequent return to MIT. Stockmayer then moved to Dartmouth University in 1961, where he worked primarily on copolymers in dilute solution, established the journal Macromolecules, and collaborated with numerous Japanese scientists. He discusses his impression of the Gordon Conferences and the polymer community since the 1940s. Stockmayer concludes with his retirement and work as a consultant for Du Pont and other companies.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 99 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

Walter H. Stockmayer, interviewed by Sturchio, Jeffrey L. (Jeffrey Louis) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1992. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0049. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/b5644s82s.

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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

11 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads