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Isabella L. Karle

  • Born: December 2, 1921, Detroit, Michigan
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  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0066
Interview Dates: February 26, 1987 and June 15, 1987 and September 9, 1987
Location: Naval Research Laboratory,
Interviewers: James J. Bohning and David K. van Keuren
No. of pages: 94
Minutes: 150

  Abstract of Interview

Joint interview with Jerome Karle.

Abstract is unavailable.


1941 B.S., Chemistry, University of Michigan
1942 M.S., Physical Chemistry, University of Michigan
1944 Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of Michigan

  Professional Experience

University of Michigan

1944 - 1945 Instructor

National Research Laboratory

1946 - 1959 Various Positions

National Research Laboratory

1959 Head, X-ray Diffraction Section for the Structure of Matter

American Peptide Symposium

1975 - 1981 Executive Committee


1975 Editorial Board

C&E News

1986 Editorial Board


1965 Superior Civilian Service, Navy Department
1968 Annual Achievement Award, Society of Women Engineers
1970 Hillebrand Award, American Chemical Society
1973 Federal Women's Award
1976 D.Sc., University of Michigan
1976 Garvan Medal, American Chemical Society
1976 President, American Crystallographic Association
1979 D.Sc., Wayne State University
1984 Doc. Humane Letters, Georgetown University
1984 Chemical Pioneer Award, American Institute of Chemists
1986 D.Sc., Maryland University
1986 Lifetime Achievement Award, Women in Science and Engineering
1987 Secretary of the Navy Distinguished Achievement in Science Award
1988 Gregory Aminoff Prize, Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences
1989 Inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame
1991 Paul Ehrlich Prize, National Institutes of Health
1992 Vincent du Vigneaud Award, Gordon Coference on Peptides
1993 Bower Award and Prize in Science, Franklin Institute
1995 Award in Chemical Sciences, National Academy of Sciences
1995 National Medal of Science

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

  About the Interviewers

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.

David K. van Keuren

David van Keuren earned a Ph.D. in history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982, following a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1975) and a bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire (1972). His graduate studies were concentrated on scientific thought in Europe and America from the Middle Ages to the present. In 1986 he joined the staff of the Naval Research Laboratory as its historian, documenting the agency’s significant research and development achievements past and present, and contributing to national awareness of the broad impact of military scientific research on civil society. He died in a hit-and-run bicycle accident on March 26, 2004, in southwest Washington.

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