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Hubert N. Alyea

Hubert Alyea

Gift of Hurbert Alyea, CHF Collections

  • Born: October 10, 1903, Clifton, New Jersey
  • Died: October 19, 1996, Hightstown, New Jersey

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0010
Interview Dates: May 22, 1986 and May 23, 1986
Location: Princeton
Interviewers: Jeffrey L. Sturchio and Ronald E. Doel
No. of pages: 254
Minutes: 239

  Abstract of Interview

Abstract is currently unavailable.


1925 A.B., Chemistry, Princeton University
1926 A.M., Chemistry, Princeton University
1928 Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Princeton University

  Professional Experience

General Electric Company

1926 - 1927 American-Scandinavian Fellow, Nobel Institute, Stockholm

University of Minnesota

1928 - 1929 National Research Fellow

Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin-Dahlem, Germany

1929 - 1930 International Research Fellow

Princeton University

1927 - 1928 Proctor Fellow

Princeton University

1930 - 1934 Instructor in Chemistry

Princeton University

1934 - 1940 Assistant Professor

Princeton University

1940 - 1954 Associate Professor

Princeton University

1954 - 1972 Professor

Princeton University

1972 - present Professor Emeritus


1949 Visiting Professor, University of Hawaii

New Jersey Science Teachers Award


New Jersey Education Citation

1958 Lecturer, International Exposition, Brussels
1962 Lecturer, International Exposition, Seattle

Chemical Manufacturers Association Award

1967 Lecturer, International Exposition, Montreal
1970 Award in Chemical Education, American Chemical Society
1970 Honorary D.Sc., Beaver College
1970 James Flack Norris Award, Northeast Section, American Chemical Society

Priestley Award, Dickinson College

1991 Robert H. Carleton Award, National Science Teachers Association

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Vitae and Honors 2

Childhood 6

I choose my Bride 8

Hubert becomes a Chemist 10

Ethan, my older brother, supplies a Role-Model. Edwin, the younger of my two brothers, supplies a Lab Manual. My Father supplies the Chemicals.

Undergraduate College Years 15

Playing the cello. The Triangle Club. Playing the 'cello for Hollywood's great. The Banjo Club. A Triangle song: "Marriage by Radio."

My bout with Polio 20

My mother.

The Princeton Chemical Faculty 27

My Princeton Professors (1920–1928). Later Professors (1930–1950). Chemistry Staff (1984–1985). My Elementary and Inorganic Chemistry Teachers. My Analytical Chemistry Teachers. My Organic Chemistry Teachers. Origin of the Frick Chemical Lab. My Physical Chemistry Teachers.

Hubert chooses a Teaching Career 44

J. N. Bronsted. Copenhagen 47

Nobel Institute as an American-Scandinavian Fellow.

Svante Arrhenius 49

My Ph.D. Thesis 53

Chain Reactions and the Theory of Inhibition illustrated by the Domino Effect.

I win my Father-in-Law's approval 57

Industrial vs. Academic Careers 59

Later Princeton Chemistry Professors 61

University of Minnesota 62

National Research Fellow with S. C. Lind. 

ACS Fall Meeting, Minnesota 67

Bonhoeffer demonstrates ortho-para hydrogen. Bodenstein advocates a new unit: THE EINSTEIN.

University of Berlin 70

Max Bodenstein. Walter Nernst.

Nobel Prizemen 73

With whom I have worked: Arrhenius, Haber, Hinshelwood, Pauling.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Berlin-Dahlem 74

Scientists there. International Research Fellow with Fritz Haber. Albert Einstein.  In Berlin-Dahlem. In Princeton

Consulting for Röhm and Haas 89

Henry Eyring comes to Princeton 91

Cooperation of the Sciences in Princeton 94

Quantum Mechanics for the Russian Peasant 95

Mr. Ortho-dichloro Benzene 97

Sputnik 99

Fireside Precepts 103

Soirees at (H. P.) Robertson's home 104

Conception of the computer 109

Any top scientist? 112

I invent an automatic slide-changer 115

Wendell Willkie 117

Civilian Defense in NJ 121

ESMWT (War Training Courses) 126

Atomic Energy lecture 129

LIFE magazine and Karsh.

Hawaii: Serfdom to Capitalism 131

A Pauling Family reunion 133

Tested Demonstrations 136

Predicting the H-bomb from its lithium flame 142

The Old Nassau Reaction 144

Nassau Hall; the song. British armory, 1777. First telegraph (Joseph) Henry, 1830. First Undergraduate Chem Lab, 1797.

The Absent-minded Professor 149

Projection of experiments (TOPS) 156

UNESCO in Bangkok 156

Armchair Chemistry 156

US-South Africa Leader Exchange 156

Co-education in Princeton 189

My Public Lectures 191

Atomic Energy: Weapon for Peace (1945–1960). Lucky Accidents, Great Discoveries, and the Prepared Mind (1960–1988). Teaching Techniques (1960–1988).

Special thanks to three colleagues 200

Accolades 201


Publications 225

Other Items 239

Around the World in 80 Years 241

Index 243

  About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Sturchio

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an A.B. in history from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ronald E. Doel

Ronald E. Doel received a B.A. in English and astronomy from Northwestern University, an M.A. in American studies from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. He was postdoctoral historian at the Center for the History of Physics from 1990 to 1993, and postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in 1993–1994. He has taught history and history of science at the University of Maryland.

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