Oral history interview with Rudolph Pariser

Oral history interview with Rudolph Pariser

  • 2005-Oct-28

Rudolph Pariser's life has been significantly shaped by the historical events of the 20th century, from being born in China since his mother found refuge there during Russian Revolution while his father escaped from his Russian captives, to being taught in Tokyo as a result of the Japanese invasion of China, and eventually permanently relocating to California due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pariser continued his education at the University of California at Berkeley, earning his degree in chemical technology there and later his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Minnesota after his military service. Pariser then started a long and successful career at DuPont, originally as a Research Chemist but eventually rising through the ranks of research management owing to his contribution to the development of Pariser-Parr-Pople method; DuPont recognized Pariser for his technical achievement by awarding him the Lavoisier Medal in 2003.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 77 pages
  • 03:47:00
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

Arthur Daemmrich is an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School and a senior research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. His research examines science, medicine, and the state, with a focus on advancing theories of risk and regulation through empirical research on the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and chemical sectors. At HBS he also plays an active role in an interdisciplinary Healthcare Initiative, advancing scholarship and developing applied lessons for the business of creating and delivering health services and health-related technologies. Daemmrich was previously the director of the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He earned a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University in 2002 and has held fellowships at the Social Science Research Council/Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He has published widely on pharmaceutical and chemical regulation, biotechnology business and policy, innovation, and history of science.

Physical location

Oral history number 0320

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • December 08, 1923
  • Harbin, China
  • February 02, 2021

Professional Experience

National Research Council (U.S.)

  • 1979 to 1981 Co-chairman, Panel on Polymer Science and Engineering
  • 1979 to 1982 Committee on Chemical Sciences
  • 1984 Co-chairman, Panel on High Performance Composites
  • 1986 to 1989 Committee on Materials Science and Engineering
  • 1996 to 1998 Committee on Fire Suppression Subsitutes and Alternatives to Halon

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

  • 1980 to 1981 Research Director, Polymer Products Department
  • 1981 to 1986 Director, Polymer Science, Central Research and Development Department
  • 1986 to 1988 Director, Advanced Materials Science, Central Research & Development Department

National Science Foundation (U.S.)

  • 1986 to 1989 Materials Research Advisory Committee
  • 1994 VPI evaluation and site visit
  • 1999 Small Business Innovation Research Program

R. Pariser & Co., Inc.

  • 1989 to 2006 President

Chemical Heritage Foundation

  • 2002 to 2006 Executive, Program and Membership Committees, Joseph Priestley Society
  • 2003 to 2006 Executive Committee, Robert Boyle Society
  • 2005 to 2006 Board of Overseers


Year(s) Award
1957 Delaware Section Award, American Chemical Society
1976 Outstanding Achievement Award, University of Minnesota
1990 International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, April Issue, in honor of Rudolph Pariser, Robert G. Parr, and John A. Pople
2001 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
2001 Fellow, World Innovation Foundation
2002 Honorary Fellow, World Innovation Foundation
2003 The Lavoisier Medal for Technical Achievement
2004 Emeritus Certificate, Rubber Division, American Chemical Society
2004 Fellow, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

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PDF — 5.0 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

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads