Digital Collections

Oral history interview with Frank R. Mayo

  • 1981-Jan-21

Oral history interview with Frank R. Mayo

  • 1981-Jan-21

In this interview Dr. Frank Mayo first discusses his educational career as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Chicago. He then traces his professional career as a research chemist with Du Pont, an instructor at the University of Chicago where his primary role was the supervision of Morris Kharasch's research group, a group leader at U.S. Rubber during and after World War II, a research associate at General Electric, and finally, a fellow at SRI International. He discusses his closest associates, explains his scientific work, and comments on the rise of free radical chemistry and the value of applying basic research to practical problems.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 56 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

Leon Gortler is a professor of chemistry at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He holds AB and MS degrees from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard University where he worked with Paul Bartlett. He has long been interested in the history of chemistry, in particular the development of physical organic chemistry, and has conducted over fifty oral and videotaped interviews with major American chemists.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0031

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • June 23, 1908
  • Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • October 30, 1987
  • Menlo Park, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1929 University of Chicago BS Chemistry
1931 University of Chicago PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

University of Chicago

  • 1931 to 1932 Lilly Fellow
  • 1936 to 1942 Instructor

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

  • 1933 to 1935 Research Chemist

United States Rubber Company

  • 1942 to 1950 Group Leader, Research Chemist

General Electric Company

  • 1950 to 1956 Research Associate

SRI International

  • 1956 to 1982 Scientific Fellow


Year(s) Award
1967 Award in Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society

Cite as

See our FAQ page to learn how to cite an oral history.

PDF — 245 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

6 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads