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Oral history interview with Eugene G. Rochow

  • 1995-Jan-24

Oral history interview with Eugene G. Rochow

  • 1995-Jan-24

Eugene G. Rochow discusses his family background in Germany, his upbringing in New Jersey, and his early interests in electricity and silicon which led him to pursue degrees in chemistry at Cornell University where he worked as an assistant for Louis M. Dennis and Alfred Stock. Rochow has an extensive career in silicone production, including ethyl phenyl silicone and methyl silicone, and research on nuclear fission as a source of domestic energy but later resigned from this work because of his Quaker beliefs. Rochow also comments on his teaching at Harvard University and his Perkin Medal.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 63 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 0129

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • October 04, 1909
  • Newark, New Jersey, United States
  • March 21, 2002
  • Fort Myers, Florida, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1931 Cornell University BChem Chemistry
1935 Cornell University PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Halowax Corporation

  • 1931 to 1932 Research Chemist

Cornell University

  • 1932 to 1935 Assistant Chemist

General Electric Company

  • 1935 to 1948 Research Chemist

Harvard University

  • 1948 to 1951 Associate Professor
  • 1951 to 1970 Professor
  • 1970 to 1996 Professor Emeritus


Year(s) Award
1948 Honorary MA, Harvard University
1949 Baekeland Medal, American Chemical Society
1951 Myer Award, American Ceramic Society
1958 Mattiello Award, Federal Paint & Varnish Society
1962 Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry
1964 Honor Scroll, American Institute of Chemists
1965 Frederick Stanley Kipping Award, American Chemical Society
1966 Honorary DSc, Carolo-Wilhelmina Universität Braunschweig
1968 Chemical Pioneers Award, American Institute of Chemistry
1970 Award for Excellence in Teaching, Manufacturing Chemists Association
1971 Inventor's Award, General Electric Company
1973 Norris Award for Teaching of Chemistry, American Chemical Society
1983 Alfred Stock Medal, German Chemical Society
1992 Honorary Doctorate of Natural Science, Technische Universität, Dresden

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PDF — 316 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

9 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads