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Madeleine M. Joullié

  • Born: March 29, 1927, Paris, France

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0092
Interview Date: April 23, 1991
Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 72
Minutes: 270
Sponsor: Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

The interview begins with Dr. Joullié's description of her early life and education in Brazil. Her father sent her to Simmons College in the United States, where she received her undergraduate degree before obtaining her master's and doctoral degrees in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. Her mentor, Dr. Allan R. Day, advised her to teach at Penn, where she met and married fellow professor Richard E. Prange. Here Joullié describes Day's teaching and mentoring skills, along with her own views on educating students in the scientific fields and Penn's educational climate, mentioning Charles C. Price. In 1953, Joullié became organic chemistry instructor at Penn. Early on, she overhauled and ran the chemistry laboratories and stockroom. She conducted research on fingerprint reagents for the U. S. Secret Service and is now focusing on cyclic peptides. She reminisces about some of her former students. With Mildred Cohn, Joullié implemented affirmative action guidelines that led to more hiring of women and minorities in tenure-track positions at Penn. Also, she helped institute professional guidelines for chemists through the American Chemical Society. While on a Fulbright scholarship in Brazil, Joullié wrote a book in Portuguese on heterocyclic chemistry. Later, she acted as consultant for Western Electric and Shell. She is collaborating with Paul B. Weisz on angiogenesis research and is also working on a cholinesterase inhibitor for Alzheimer's disease. The interview concludes with a discussion of trends in chemistry textbooks, highlighting Organic Chemistry, which Joullié co-authored with Day.


1949 B.Sc., Chemistry, Simmons College
1950 M.Sc., Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
1953 Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania

  Professional Experience

University of Pennsylvania

1953 - 1957 Instructor

University of Pennsylvania

1957 - 1959 Research Associate

University of Pennsylvania

1959 - 1968 Assistant Professor

University of Pennsylvania

1968 - 1974 Associate Professor

University of Pennsylvania

1974 Professor


1972 Philadelphia Section Award, American Chemical Society
1978 Garvan Medal, American Chemical Society
1984 Faculty Award, American Cyanamid Company
1985 Scroll Award, American Institute of Chemists
1991 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
1991 Class of 1970 Endowed Chair
1991 Philadelphia Section Award, AWIS
1994 POCC Award, Philadelphia Organic Chemists Club
1994 Henry Hill Award, American Chemical Society

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Family Background and Situation 1

Parents' background and father's career. Early life and education in Brazil. Brazilian educational system. Brazilian culture during youth vs. today.

Education 4

Decision to come to the United States to study at Simmons College. First impressions of the United States and Boston. Decision to move to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue master's and doctoral degrees. Roots of interest in science. Marriage to Richard E. Prange. Mentor relationship with Allan R. Day. Views on education, particularly in science. Influential teachers.

Early Career at Penn 20

Decision to teach at Penn. Overhaul of the laboratory and stockroom. Encouragement from Charles C. Price. Photochemistry of heterocyclic ketones. Ketenes. Synthesis of organic compounds using carbohydrates. Muscarine and muscarine stereoisomers. Furanomycin. Amino acids. Development of fingerprint reagents for U. S. Secret Service. Cyclic peptides. Views on research support, teaching, and contemporary students. Early students.

Committee Activities at Penn and Outside 32

Safety committee. Committee on Open Expression and Demonstration on Campus. Collaboration with Mildred Cohn on Committee on the Status of Women; its influence at Penn. Effects of affirmative action at Penn. Colleagues at Penn. Development of professional guidelines for the American Chemical Society. General effects of affirmative action for women and minorities in academia. Mentoring. Promotion to full professor.

Research and Publications 43

Fulbright scholarship and book on heterocyclic chemistry. Views on research funding. Consulting and outside work. Collaboration on angiogenesis research with Paul B. Weisz. Current research on cholinesterase inhibitor for Alzheimer's disease. Organic Chemistry. Views on current chemistry textbooks.

Notes 54

Index 65

  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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