Frederick Wall begins his oral history discussing his family background and childhood in Minnesota, attending the University of Minnesota, and studying chemistry and chemical engineering. After a stint at Caltech with Pauling, Wall moved back to the University of Minnesota and earning his Ph.D. in 1935. At the University of Illinois he worked on infrared spectroscopy, gradually becoming interested in polymers. During World War II he volunteered to work on the rubber problem. In 1963, Wall moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara and later the University of California, San Diego. In 1969, he became executive director of the American Chemical Society (ACS), but soon rejoined academia, becoming professor of chemistry at Rice University.
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.
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