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Oral history interview with Paul M. Doty

  • 1986-Nov-17

Oral history interview with Paul M. Doty

  • 1986-Nov-17

Paul Doty begins by describing his family's background and his early education in Western Pennsylvania. He also recalls attending the ACS national meeting while he was still a teenager. He describes his impressions of Pennsylvania State College under Frank Whitmore, and the influence of John G. [Jack] Aston. Examining his selection of Columbia University for graduate studies, Doty describes the famous scientists there at that time and the effects of World War II; next he discusses how thesis research in physical chemistry led to work on light scattering and polymers. He remembers his coworkers, including Bruno Zimm and Turner Alfrey, and his postdoc in Eric Rideal's laboratory at Cambridge University, where he was first drawn to research in biopolymers. Doty recounts his early research at Harvard University, including protein denaturation and renaturation, and describes his colleagues. He continues the interview with an account of the development of biochemistry at Harvard and his involvement in public service and activism in nuclear and international issues. Finally, Paul Doty reflects on national characteristics in academic policy.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 47 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

Raymond C. Ferguson obtained his degrees in chemistry from Iowa State University (BS, MS) and Harvard University (PhD). He worked in research divisions of the Organic Chemicals, Elastomer Chemicals, and Central Research Departments of DuPont, principally in molecular spectroscopy, organic structure analysis, and polymer characterization. Currently he is affiliated with CONDUX, Inc., a consulting association of former DuPont professionals.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0062

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • June 01, 1920
  • Charleston, West Virginia, United States
  • December 05, 2011
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1941 Pennsylvania State University BS Chemistry
1944 Columbia University PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Polytechnic Institute of New York

  • 1943 to 1945 Instructor, Research Associate and Co-Director of Quartermaster Projects
  • 1945 to 1946 Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry

University of Notre Dame

  • 1947 to 1948 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Harvard University

  • 1948 to 1950 Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • 1950 to 1956 Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • 1956 to 1968 Professor of Chemistry
  • 1967 to 1970 Chairman, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 1968 to 1987 Mallinckrodt Professor of Biochemistry


Year(s) Award
1946 to 1947 Rockefeller Fellow, Cambridge University, England
1950 to 1951 Guggenheim Fellow, held in 1958, Cambridge University
1950 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1955 Priestly Lecturer, Pennsylvania State University
1956 Award in Pure Chemistry, American Chemical Society
1956 Edgar Fahs Smith Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania
1957 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences
1959 Harrison Howe Lecturer, University of Rochester
1960 Harvey Lecturer
1961 to 1965 Member, President's Science Advisory Committee
1963 Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
1966 DSc, University of Chicago
1967 Gold Medal Award, City College Chemistry Alumni Association
1970 Fellow, American Philosophical Society
1971 Robertson Memorial Lecturer, National Academy of Sciences
1972 Dedication Lecture, Mitsubishi-Kasei Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo
1973 25th Anniversary Lecture, Brandeis University
1973 J. T. Donald Lecture in Chemistry, McGill University
1975 Foreign Member, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

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PDF — 201 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