Manson Benedict begins the interview with a discussion of his family background, including the highlights of his father's career in chemistry. He recalls how his early enthusiasm for chemistry was promoted both by his father's work and his summer jobs with Calumet and Hecla Copper Company. He then tells of his dissatisfaction with his Cornell University education, his year at National Aniline, and his decision to enroll at the University of Chicago to obtain a broader liberal education during which he explored economics and socialism. After a colorful description of a summer's work on a fruit farm in Washington state, Benedict describes his enrollment in a graduate physical chemistry program at MIT. He then discusses his National Research Fellowship at Harvard and his decision to work at Kellogg, where he developed the Benedict-Webb-Rubin equation. He describes his significant role in the Manhattan Project, and touches on his subsequent appointment to the Atomic Energy Commission. He concludes the interview with his return to MIT to develop a nuclear engineering curriculum, the accomplishment of which he is most proud.
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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