Oral history interview with Herbert Morawetz

Oral history interview with Herbert Morawetz

  • 1986-Apr-01

In this interview, Herbert Morawetz traces his early life prior to leaving Czechoslovakia on the Nazi invasion and resettling in Canada, where he studied chemical engineering at the University of Toronto. He describes his introduction to industrial research work and his consequent Ph.D. study at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and late postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Morawetz outlines the circumstances of his appointment to the faculty at Brooklyn and his research and scholarly activities there. During the course of the interview Morawetz reflects on some of his graduate students, on the future of polymer education, and on international scientific collaboration.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 44 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute
Digitization funder
  • Audio synchronization made possible through the generous funding of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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

Oral history number 0032

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • October 16, 1915
  • Prague, Hungary
  • October 29, 2017
  • New York, New York, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1942 University of Toronto BASc Chemical Engineering
1943 University of Toronto MASc Chemical Engineering
1950 Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Bakelite Company

  • 1945 to 1949 Research Chemist

Harvard Medical School

  • 1950 to 1951 N.I.H. Fellow

Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn

  • 1951 to 1953 Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • 1953 to 1958 Associate Professor
  • 1958 to 1981 Professor
  • 1981 to 1986 Institute Professor
  • 1986 Institute Professor Emeritus


Year(s) Award
1966 to 1967 N. I. H. Fellow, Universities of Naples and Rome
1980 Centennial Scholar, Case Western Reserve University
1984 Whitby Memorial Lecturer, University of Akron
1985 Polymer Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society

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PDF — 299 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

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads