Oral history interview with Paul B. Weisz

Oral history interview with Paul B. Weisz

  • 1995-Mar-27

Paul Weisz begins his oral history interview by discussing his family background in Austria-Hungary after World War I period, when his family moved to Berlin. Weisz was educated in the Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in physics and chemistry. Weisz attended the Technical University in Berlin and spent his free time in the laboratory of Wolfgang Kohlhoerster at the Institute of Cosmic Radiation Research, where he worked on Geiger counter instrumentation and cosmic ray measurements. Because of Hitler's rise to power, Weisz arranged an exchange program with Auburn University, earning his B.S. in physics in 1940. At the Bartol Research Foundation in Pennsylvania, Weisz worked on radiation counting and projects relating to the National Research Defense Council. After gaining clearance to do classified work, he moved to the MIT Radiation Laboratory where he helped to develop a long range navigation trainer (Loran). He accepted a position with Mobil Corporation, where he worked on catalysis. In 1966, he completed his Sc.D. at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, where he had worked with Heinrich Zollinger on dye chemistry. Weisz concludes the interview by discussing innovation in industry, the importance of interdisciplinary thinking, and his later work on Alzheimer's Disease and angiogenesis.

Property Value
Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3
  • 60 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.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

  • July 02, 1919
  • Pilsen
  • September 25, 2012
  • State College, Pennsylvania, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1939 Technische Universität Berlin Physics Study
1940 Auburn University BS Physics
1966 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich PhD

Professional Experience

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • 1938 to 1939 Assistant

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Radiation Laboratory

  • 1940 to 1946 Research Assistant, Bartol Research Foundation and Project Engineer

Swarthmore College

  • 1942 to 1943 Instructor, Swarthmore College

Mobil Research and Development Corporation

  • 1946 to 1961 Research Associate
  • 1961 to 1967 Senior Scientist
  • 1967 to 1969 Manager, Exploratory Process Research
  • 1969 to 1982 Manager, Central Research Laboratory, Princeton, N.J.
  • 1982 to 1984 Scientific Advisor
  • 1984 Retired

Princeton University

  • 1974 to 1976 Visiting Professor

University of Pennsylvania

  • 1984 Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Bio-Engineering


  • 1984 Consultant

Pennsylvania State University

  • 1993 Adjunct Professor, Chemical Engineering


Year(s) Award
1972 E. V. Murphy Award in Industrial Engineering Chemistry, American Chemical Society
1974 Pioneer Award, American Institute of Chemists
1977 Leo Friend Award, American Chemical Society
1977 Elected member, National Academy of Engineering
1978 R. H. Wilhelm Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineering
1980 Honorary Doctorate (ScD, technological science), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
1983 Lavoisier Medal, Société Chimique de France
1983 Langmuir Distinguished Lecturer Award, American Chemical Society
1985 Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry
1986 Chemistry of Contemporary Technological Problems Award, American Chemical Society
1987 Carothers Award, American Chemical Society
1988 DGKM Kollegium Award (Germany)
1992 National Medal of Technology

Cite as

Paul Burg Weisz, interviewed by James J. Bohning in State College, Pennsylvania on March 27, 1995. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0141. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/cj82k863f.

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PDF — 535 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

11 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads