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 warfareDulles, AllenEminent Chemists seriesGas schoolGoering, Hermann WilhelmMerck & CompanyNew JerseyNuremburg trialsPoison gas detectorsPrinceton, New JerseySabotageSecond World War (WWII)Sharp & DohmeUnited States ArmyWorld 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, EdwinAlyea, EthanAsbestosBaskerville, CharlesBrothersCarbonClifton, New JerseyCurtman, Louis J.Duke UniversityFathersHome chemistry labJohns Hopkins UniversityMutual Life Insurance CompanyPrinceton UniversityQualitative analysisSmyth, Charles P.Sodium nitrateSulfurSunday school
STURCHIO: How about--before we get to Taylor, who we want to talk about a good deal, there were also...
KeywordsAlkaloidsBeatty, HaroldBerlin, GermanyCatalysisDougherty, GreggFirst World War (WWI)Frick Chemistry LaboratoryFrick, Henry ClayGrand CanyonHibben, John G.Jones, W. LauderNatural productsPacsu, EugeneSugar chemistryTaylor, Hugh S.Wallis, Everett
ALYEA: Now the second one was Fritz Haber.
KeywordsAmmonium nitrateApatiteArrhenius, SvanteBelgiumBerlin, GermanyBlack Fridaybromine lachrymatorsChemical warfareChiang Kai-Shekchlorine gasCyanideExplosivesEyring, HenryFarkas, AdalbertFarkas, LasoslasFirst World War (WWI)Franck, JamesFreundlick, Herbertgas warfareHaber, FritzHaber-Bosch processHalifax explosionHarteck, PaulHitler, AdolfKaiser Wilhelm InstituteKistler, Samuel S.Korean WarLadenburg, KurtLind, Samuel C.MacDougel, HenryNernst's third lawNernst, WaltherNorth KoreaOppau, GermanyPhosphorusPolanyi, MichaelSecond World WarSmith, Lee I.South KoreaStock market crashSuicideTaiwanTaylor, Hugh S.tear gasTexas City explosionUniversity of MinnesotaWigner, EugeneWorld War I (WWI)World War IIYpres, Frances
ALYEA: Now, the second meeting in '48 was even more famous; this was the conception of the computer.
KeywordsBlack PlagueDiodesDirac, PaulENIACForrestal CenterLos Alamos National LaboratoryManhattan ProjectMANIACMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Mechanical computersNobel PrizePrinceton UniversityRobertson, Howard P.UNIVACUniversity of PennsylvaniaVon 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 reactionsGurney, Ronald WilfredKapitsa, Pyotr LeonidovichKhrushchev, Nikita S.National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Nobel PrizePetroleumSemyonov, Nikolay N.SputnikTurkevich, John
STURCHIO: You said that by, I guess by the mid 30s, you were spending more and more time on teaching—
KeywordsAtom bombAtomic energyAtomic Energy Commission (AEC)BelgiumBethe, Hans A.Camden, New JerseyCondon, EdwardConsultingDepartment of State (US)Fulbright scholarsHawaiiLaboratory accidentsNew Haven, ConnecticutNew JerseyPearl Harbor, HawaiiPrinceton UniversityPrinceton, New JerseyRochester, New YorkSecond World War (WWII)Smyth, Charles P.TeachingUNESCOWigner, EugeneWorld War II (WWII)World's fairs
STURCHIO: Well, you wanted to tell us about Wood—
KeywordsAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)Bonhoeffer, Karl F.DeuteriumEniwetok Atoll, Marshall IslandsGlassblowingHarteck, PaulHeavy hydrogenHydrogenHydrogen bombLangmuir, IrvingMinneapolis, MinnesotaNobel PrizeUrey, Harold C.Wood, Robert Williams
KeywordsAlyea, FredAtomic energyEinstein, AlbertEisenhart, Luther P.Haber, FritzInstitute for Advanced Study (Princeton, N.J.)Kaiser Wilhelm InstitutePrinceton UniversityRahm, Barbara L.Scientific apparatus and instruments
STURCHIO: Kistiakowsky was at Princeton for a couple of years then too—
KeywordsBodenstein, MaxDutton, FredEisenhower, Dwight D.GlassblowingHarvard UniversityIhrig, JuddJournal of chemical educationKistiakowsky, George B.Kistiakowsky, VeraMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Mead, BrianMoebius, HildegardNobel Institute for Physical ResearchPrinceton UniversitySecond World War (WWII)University of HawaiiWorld War II (WWII)
ALYEA: Well, now we come to the tested overhead projection part of it—
KeywordsAmerican Revolution (1775-1783)Atomic energyBattle of Princeton (New Jersey: 1777)BelgiumCentury 21 ExpositionDavy, Humphry, SirExposition universelle et internationaleFaraday, MichaelHenry, JosephIndiaJoseph Henry house (Princeton, N.J.)Journal of chemical educationKistiakowsky, George B.Maclean House (Princeton, N.J.)Maclean, JohnMorse, Samuel F. B.Nassau Hall (Princeton, N.J.)ProjectorsRush, BenjaminSilliman, BenjaminTelegraphUniversity of EdinburghWorld's fairs
ALYEA: I didn't tell you about the absent-minded professor.
KeywordsAlyea, EvelynAlyea, FredBelgiumCalifornia Institute of Technology (Cal Tech)Carroll College (Waukesha, Wis.)Disney, WaltDisneylandExposition universelle et internationaleHaver, JuneHollywood, CaliforniaHuntington Hotel (Pasadena, Calif.)MacMurray, FredPrinceton UniversityRheingold BeerWalt Disney Productions
KeywordsBangkok, ThailandCampbell, J. ArthurChem. Bond ApproachChemical Education Material Study (Chem Study)Chulalongkorn UniversityCommunist countriesČhulālongkō̜nmahāwitthayālaiEast AsiaFar EastHigh school teachersIron Curtain landsMayberry, RichardMoscow, RussiaNuffield StudyStrong, LeonardUNESCO
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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