Abraham Savitzky Papers
Created and used by Abraham Savitzky
- 2.75 linear feet
- Gift of Evelyn Savitzky
- Copyright restrictions may apply (contact CHF archivist).
Includes correspondence, presentations, and manuscripts related to the career of Savitzky as a pioneer in computer-aided analytical chemistry.
Abraham Savitzky was born on May 29, 1919, in New York City. He received his bachelor’s degree from the New York State College for Teachers in 1941. After serving in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, he obtained a master’s degree in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1949 in physical chemistry from Columbia University.
In 1950, after working at Columbia for a year as a research associate in electron microscopy, he began a long career with the Perkin-Elmer Corporation. Savitzky started with Perkin-Elmer as a staff scientist who was chiefly concerned with the design and development of infrared instruments. He rapidly moved up the ranks in the corporation. By 1956 he was named Perkin-Elmer’s new product coordinator for the Instrument Division, and as the years passed, he continued to gain more and more recognition for his work in the company. Most of his work with Perkin-Elmer focused on computer-aided analytical chemistry, data reduction, infrared spectroscopy, time-sharing systems, and computer plotting. He retired from Perkin-Elmer in 1985. After his retirement Savitzky became the president of Silvermine Resources, where he remained for several years.
Abraham Savitzky holds seven U.S. patents pertaining to computerization and chemical apparatus. During his long career he presented numerous papers and wrote several manuscripts, including "Smoothing and Differentiation of Data by Simplified Least Squares Procedures." This paper, which is the collaborative effort of Savitzky and Marcel J. E. Golay, was published in volume 36 of Analytical Chemistry, July 1964. It is one of the most famous, respected, and heavily cited articles in its field.
In recognition of his many significant accomplishments in the field of analytical chemistry and computer science, Savitzky received the Society of Applied Spectroscopy Award in 1983 and the Williams-Wright Award from the Coblenz Society in 1986. Savitzky was also a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physics Society, the Optical Society of America, and many other professional organizations. He died in 1999.