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Oral history interview with N. Bruce Hannay

  • 1995-Dec-28

Oral history interview with N. Bruce Hannay

  • 1995-Dec-28

The interview begins with N. Bruce Hannay discussing the origins of his interest in electrochemistry and his awareness of The Electrochemical Society as an ideal organization for discussions and publications on topics related to solid state chemistry. The interview continues as Hannay recalls Bell Labs' support for his early activities in The ECS, which included organizing meetings and suggesting speakers, particularly within the Electronics Division. Hannay emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between the Society and Bell Labs, where he served as Vice President for Research during his ECS presidency. Hannay helped to further the Society's interest in solid state and corrosion work while he had responsibility for electrochemistry at Bell Labs. Throughout the interview, he comments on positive aspects of the Society's internal operations; its relations with other scientific organizations and companies, including the American Chemical Society, GE, and Bell Labs; and the influence of colleagues such as R.M. Burns and Charles Tobias. He also describes the Society's strong responsiveness to its members' needs, its influence on his professional development during the middle of his career, and his views of the future of both The ECS and electrochemistry in general.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 16 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

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.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0137B

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • February 09, 1921
  • Mt. Vernon, Washington, United States
  • June 02, 1996
  • Bremerton, Washington, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1942 Swarthmore College BA Chemistry
1943 Princeton University MA Physical Chemistry
1944 Princeton University PhD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

Bell Telephone Laboratories

  • 1942 to 1960 Research Chemist
  • 1960 to 1967 Chemical Director
  • 1967 to 1973 Executive Director, Research, Material Science and Engineering
  • 1973 to 1982 Vice President, Research and Patents


Year(s) Award
1976 Acheson Medal, Electrochemical Society
1978 Honorary PhD, Tel Aviv University
1979 Honorary DSc, Swarthmore College
1981 Honorary DSc, Polytechnic Institute of New York
1983 Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry (American Section)

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PDF — 130 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

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads