Hubert Alyea was an internationally known popularizer of chemistry. His public demonstrations and academic lectures won him numerous awards and imparted the beauty of chemistry to his students and interested laypeople alike. Alyea contracted polio in 1923, during his senior year at Princeton University. His interview covers his diagnosis and treatment and mentions the effects of post-polio syndrome in his later years.
Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.
ALYEA: Over there is a book--I made this "Eminent Chemists" series, you may have seen it.
KeywordsAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)•Chemical warfare•Dulles, Allen•Eminent Chemists series•Gas school•Goering, Hermann Wilhelm•Merck & Company•New Jersey•Nuremburg trials•Poison gas detectors•Princeton, New Jersey•Sabotage•Second World War (WWII)•Sharp & Dohme•United States Army•World War II (WWII)
STURCHIO: I thought we could start--we'd like to ask you a little bit about what got you interested in science first...
KeywordsAlyea, Edwin•Alyea, Ethan•Asbestos•Baskerville, Charles•Brothers•Carbon•Clifton, New Jersey•Curtman, Louis J.•Duke University•Fathers•Home chemistry lab•Johns Hopkins University•Mutual Life Insurance Company•Princeton University•Qualitative analysis•Smyth, Charles P.•Sodium nitrate•Sulfur•Sunday school
STURCHIO: How about--before we get to Taylor, who we want to talk about a good deal, there were also...
KeywordsAlkaloids•Beatty, Harold•Berlin, Germany•Catalysis•Dougherty, Gregg•First World War (WWI)•Frick Chemistry Laboratory•Frick, Henry Clay•Grand Canyon•Hibben, John G.•Jones, W. Lauder•Natural products•Pacsu, Eugene•Sugar chemistry•Taylor, Hugh S.•Wallis, Everett
ALYEA: Now the second one was Fritz Haber.
KeywordsAmmonium nitrate•Apatite•Arrhenius, Svante•Belgium•Berlin, Germany•Black Friday•bromine lachrymators•Chemical warfare•Chiang Kai-Shek•chlorine gas•Cyanide•Explosives•Eyring, Henry•Farkas, Adalbert•Farkas, Lasoslas•First World War (WWI)•Franck, James•Freundlick, Herbert•gas warfare•Haber, Fritz•Haber-Bosch process•Halifax explosion•Harteck, Paul•Hitler, Adolf•Kaiser Wilhelm Institute•Kistler, Samuel S.•Korean War•Ladenburg, Kurt•Lind, Samuel C.•MacDougel, Henry•Nernst's third law•Nernst, Walther•North Korea•Oppau, Germany•Phosphorus•Polanyi, Michael•Second World War•Smith, Lee I.•South Korea•Stock market crash•Suicide•Taiwan•Taylor, Hugh S.•tear gas•Texas City explosion•University of Minnesota•Wigner, Eugene•World War I (WWI)•World War II•Ypres, Frances
ALYEA: Now, the second meeting in '48 was even more famous; this was the conception of the computer.
KeywordsBlack Plague•Diodes•Dirac, Paul•ENIAC•Forrestal Center•Los Alamos National Laboratory•Manhattan Project•MANIAC•Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)•Mechanical computers•Nobel Prize•Princeton University•Robertson, Howard P.•UNIVAC•University of Pennsylvania•Von Neumann, John
STURCHIO: Your comment earlier about how your future in-laws wondered why you were going into teaching when a lot of people were going into industry was interesting, especially since I noticed that your fellow PhD's in 1928 all had industrial careers or government careers.
ALYEA: Now there's another story connected with Sputnik in the same plane where there was [Pyotr] Kapitza.
KeywordsChain reactions•Gurney, Ronald Wilfred•Kapitsa, Pyotr Leonidovich•Khrushchev, Nikita S.•National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)•Nobel Prize•Petroleum•Semyonov, Nikolay N.•Sputnik•Turkevich, John
STURCHIO: You said that by, I guess by the mid 30s, you were spending more and more time on teaching—
KeywordsAtom bomb•Atomic energy•Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)•Belgium•Bethe, Hans A.•Camden, New Jersey•Condon, Edward•Consulting•Department of State (US)•Fulbright scholars•Hawaii•Laboratory accidents•New Haven, Connecticut•New Jersey•Pearl Harbor, Hawaii•Princeton University•Princeton, New Jersey•Rochester, New York•Second World War (WWII)•Smyth, Charles P.•Teaching•UNESCO•Wigner, Eugene•World War II (WWII)•World's fairs
STURCHIO: Well, you wanted to tell us about Wood—
KeywordsAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)•Bonhoeffer, Karl F.•Deuterium•Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands•Glassblowing•Harteck, Paul•Heavy hydrogen•Hydrogen•Hydrogen bomb•Langmuir, Irving•Minneapolis, Minnesota•Nobel Prize•Urey, Harold C.•Wood, Robert Williams
KeywordsAlyea, Fred•Atomic energy•Einstein, Albert•Eisenhart, Luther P.•Haber, Fritz•Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, N.J.)•Kaiser Wilhelm Institute•Princeton University•Rahm, Barbara L.•Scientific apparatus and instruments
STURCHIO: Kistiakowsky was at Princeton for a couple of years then too—
KeywordsBodenstein, Max•Dutton, Fred•Eisenhower, Dwight D.•Glassblowing•Harvard University•Ihrig, Judd•Journal of chemical education•Kistiakowsky, George B.•Kistiakowsky, Vera•Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)•Mead, Brian•Moebius, Hildegard•Nobel Institute for Physical Research•Princeton University•Second World War (WWII)•University of Hawaii•World War II (WWII)
ALYEA: Well, now we come to the tested overhead projection part of it—
KeywordsAmerican Revolution (1775-1783)•Atomic energy•Battle of Princeton (New Jersey: 1777)•Belgium•Century 21 Exposition•Davy, Humphry, Sir•Exposition universelle et internationale•Faraday, Michael•Henry, Joseph•India•Joseph Henry house (Princeton, N.J.)•Journal of chemical education•Kistiakowsky, George B.•Maclean House (Princeton, N.J.)•Maclean, John•Morse, Samuel F. B.•Nassau Hall (Princeton, N.J.)•Projectors•Rush, Benjamin•Silliman, Benjamin•Telegraph•University of Edinburgh•World's fairs
ALYEA: I didn't tell you about the absent-minded professor.
KeywordsAlyea, Evelyn•Alyea, Fred•Belgium•California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)•Carroll College (Waukesha, Wis.)•Disney, Walt•Disneyland•Exposition universelle et internationale•Haver, June•Hollywood, California•Huntington Hotel (Pasadena, Calif.)•MacMurray, Fred•Princeton University•Rheingold Beer•Walt Disney Productions
KeywordsBangkok, Thailand•Campbell, J. Arthur•Chem. Bond Approach•Chemical Education Material Study (Chem Study)•Chulalongkorn University•Communist countries•Čhulālongkō̜nmahāwitthayālai•East Asia•Far East•High school teachers•Iron Curtain lands•Mayberry, Richard•Moscow, Russia•Nuffield Study•Strong, Leonard•UNESCO
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.
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