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Andrew Streitweiser

  • Born: June 23, 1927, Buffalo, New York

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0007
Interview Date: January 22, 1981
Location: Latimer Hall, University of California, Berkeley, California
Interviewer: Leon B. Gortler
No. of pages: 38
Minutes: 120

  Abstract of Interview

Andrew Streitwieser begins this interview by describing his family, early education, and undergraduate days at Columbia University. He then discusses his graduate education at Columbia,stressing the influence of William Doering upon his work,and his research on molecular orbital theory as a fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Finally, Streitwieser describes the emergence of organic chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and his own ambitious and productive research program there.


1948 A.B., Chemistry, Columbia University
1950 M.A., Chemistry, Columbia University
1952 Ph.D., Chemistry, Columbia University

  Professional Experience

University of California, Berkeley

1952 - 1963

Instructor to Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry

University of California, Berkeley

1963 Professor, Department of Chemistry

Sloan Foundation

1958 - 1962 Fellow

National Science Foundation

1959 - 1960 Faculty Fellow

Miller Institute

1964 - 1965 Fellow

Miller Institute

1979 - 1980 Fellow


1967 ACS Award in Petroleum Chemistry, American Chemical Society
1969 Guggenheim Fellow
1976 Senior Scientist Award, Humboldt Foundation
1982 Physical Organic Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Family Background and Early Education 1

Parents and siblings. Scientific interests in grade school. An early publication on fluorene. Chemical experiments during high school. Organic Specialties.

Undergraduate Work at Columbia University Before the War 7

Coursework in chemistry. Doering, Woodward, and early organic chemistry. The influence of Doering and Weaver. Army service.

Education at Columbia University after the War 13

Completing undergraduate work. Courses in physical and quantitative chemistry. Beginning graduate work. Friends and colleagues at Doering's lab.

William Doering and his Research Lab 17

The seminars and their importance. Organic chemistry in transition. Research in solvolyses. A lab in Katonah.

A Research Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 22

Working with Jack Roberts. Molecular orbital theory and calculations. Saunders and other colleagues.

The Beginnings of Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley 26

The dominance of physical chemistry. Jensen, Heathcock, Stewart, Olsen, and the rise of organic chemistry. Don Noyce and Bill Dauben.

Research Projects at Berkeley 29

Reaction mechanisms with stereochemistry. Testing Huckel's MO theory. Deuterium isotopes. The relation of organic and physical chemistry today.

  About the Interviewer

Leon B. Gortler

Leon Gortler is a professor of chemistry at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He holds A.B. and M.S. degrees from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University where he worked with Paul Bartlett. He has long been interested in the history of chemistry, in particular the development of physical organic chemistry, and has conducted over fifty oral and videotaped interviews with major American chemists.

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