Digital Collections

Oral history interview with Melvin S. Newman

  • 1979-Mar-03 (First session)
  • 1979-Mar-04 (Second session)

Oral history interview with Melvin S. Newman

  • 1979-Mar-03 (First session)
  • 1979-Mar-04 (Second session)

This interview covers the education, teaching, and research of Melvin S. Newman, an eminent organic chemist. Initially, Newman discusses his family, childhood, and early education. He then elucidates his undergraduate and graduate activities at Yale and describes his initial experiences at Ohio State University, where he has spent most of his academic career. The interview continues with Newman's remarks about his early consulting and doctoral advising. The central portion of the interview contains Newman's reflections about his research at Ohio State and his approach to teaching in the classroom and in the laboratory. His publications, use of the innovative "Newman Projection," later consulting, patents, and awards are also discussed. The interview concludes with Newman's views about research funding, former students, and philosophies of teaching and administration.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 87 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 Interviewers

Milton Orchin is an organic chemist with an interest in the history of chemistry. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Ohio State University. One of Melvin Newman’s first graduate students, he earned a PhD from Ohio State in 1939. Since then, he has combined research in federal laboratories, especially for the United States Bureau of Mines, with university teaching both at home and abroad.

John H. Wotiz was an organic chemist. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1919, he attended Furman University, the University of Richmond, and Ohio State University, where he received his PhD degree in organic chemistry. He taught at six universities, most recently at Southern Illinois University as professor of chemistry and chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 1982 he received the American Chemical Society’s Dexter Award in the History of Chemistry. John Wotiz died in 2001.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0004

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • March 10, 1908
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • May 30, 1993
  • Columbus, Ohio, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1929 Yale University BS Chemistry
1932 Yale University PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Yale University

  • 1933 National Tuberculosis Association Fellow, Yale University

Columbia University

  • 1934 National Research Council Fellow

Harvard University

  • 1934 to 1936 Research Fellow

Ohio State University

  • 1936 to 1939 Instructor
  • 1940 to 1944 Assistant Professor
  • 1944 to 1965 Professor
  • 1965 to 1978 Regents Professor
  • 1978 to 1980 Emeritus Professor

United States. Bureau of Mines

  • 1944 Consultant

Upjohn Company

  • 1945 to 1978 Consultant

University of Glasgow

  • 1957 Fulbright Professor
  • 1967 Fulbright Professor


Year(s) Award
1939 to 1940 Howald Scholar, Ohio State University
1949 Guggenheim Fellow
1951 Guggenheim Fellow
1956 Elected member of National Academy of Sciences
1961 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
1965 Honorary DSc degree, University of New Orleans
1970 Wilbur Cross Medal, Yale University
1975 Joseph Sullivant Award, Ohio State University
1978 Honorary DSc degree, Bowling Green State University
1979 Roger Adams Award of American Chemical Society
1979 Honorary DSc degree, Ohio State University

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PDF — 5.3 MB

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

9 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads