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Norman Hackerman

Norman Hackerman

CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas A. Lockard

  • Born: March 2, 1912, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Died: June 16, 2007, Temple, Texas
  • View the Front Matter and Index of this interview

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0083B
Interview Date: February 21, 1992
Location: The Robert A. Welch Foundation, Houston, Texas
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 32

  Abstract of Interview

In this, his second of three interviews with James J. Bohning of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Norman Hackerman begins by describing his work after coming to the University of Texas at Austin Department of Chemistry and starting the Corrosion Research Laboratory (currently the J. J. Pickle Research Center). He discusses the physical chemistry textbook for premed students he wrote with Frederick Matsen and Jack Myers. He also recalls the events which led to his becoming chairman of the department after only seven years, his reorganization of the department, and characteristics of the department's faculty at that time. Hackerman also describes his consulting work for the Lone Star Gas Company, the progress of his research at the Corrosion Research Lab, and resulting publications. He focuses on the factors leading to his appointment as Dean of Research at the University, the work he undertook in that position, and his eventual promotion to Dean of Office of Government Sponsored Research. He also discusses his research for the API and mentions his students and subsequent publications. Hackerman concludes the interview with a summary of his rapid progression from Vice President to Vice Chancellor to President of the University.


1932 A.B., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University
1935 Ph.D., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University

  Professional Experience

Loyola College

1935 - 1939 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Colloid Corporation

1936 - 1940 Research Chemist

United States Coast Guard

1939 - 1941 Assistant Chemist

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

1941 - 1943 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Kellex Corporation

1944 - 1945 Research Chemist

University of Texas at Austin

1945 - 1946 Assistant Professor of Chemistry

University of Texas at Austin

1946 - 1950 Associate Professor of Chemistry

University of Texas at Austin

1948 - 1961 Director, Corrosion Research Laboratory

University of Texas at Austin

1950 - 1970 Professor of Chemistry

University of Texas at Austin

1952 - 1961 Chairman, Chemistry Department

University of Texas at Austin

1960 - 1961 Dean of Research and Sponsored Programs

University of Texas at Austin

1961 - 1963 Vice President and Provost

University of Texas at Austin

1963 - 1967 Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

University of Texas at Austin

1967 - 1970 President

University of Texas at Austin

1985 Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Rice University

1970 - 1985 President and Professor of Chemistry

Rice University

1985 President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

The Robert A. Welch Foundation

1982 Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board


1956 Whitney Award, National Association of Corrosion Engineers
1964 Joseph L. Mattiello Award
1965 Palladium Medal, The Electrochemical Society
1965 Southwest Regional Award, American Chemical Society
1972 LL.D., St. Edwards University
1975 D.Sc., Austin College
1975 Honor Scroll, Texas Institute of Chemists
1978 D.Sc., Texas Christian University
1978 LL.D., Abilene Christian University
1978 Gold Medal, American Institute of Chemists
1981 Mirabeau B. Lamar Award, Association of Texas Colleges and Universities
1982 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Johns Hopkins University
1984 Edward Goodrich Acheson Award, The Electrochemical Society
1984 Alumni Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, Rice University
1987 Charles Lathrop Parsons Award
1987 Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1993 Vannevar Bush Award, National Science Board
1993 Doctor of Public Service, University of North Texas
1993 National Medal of Science
1999 Texas Distinguished Scientist Award, Texas Academy of Science

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Work in Chemistry Department, University of Texas at Austin 1

Start of Corrosion Research Laboratory. Textbook on physical chemistry for pre-med students.

Papers and Research 8

Research for Lone Star Gas Company. Paper on corrosion inhibition. Patent process for de-inking printed waste paper. Papers on passivity. Electrochemical potential dynamics research.

Dean of Research 14

Work for Defense Research Laboratory. Appointment as Dean of Office of Government Sponsored Research. Work for API.

University Presidency 25

Appointed Vice President, then Vice Chancellor, then President of UT.

Notes 28

Index 29

  About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning is professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he was 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 has 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 the foundation’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. He is currently a visiting research scientist and CESAR Fellow at Lehigh University. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

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