Title and Description Page
Childhood, Family and Early Education 1
Father's background and abilities. Father's influence. Family values of hard work and integrity. Mother's background and her role. Early schooling. Problems with spelling and writing. English lessons from James Senior at the University of Chicago. Learning trigonometry on his own. Lesson learned. Jobs as a teenager. Early reading.
Undergraduate Education at Dartmouth 7
Selecting a college. Entered Dartmouth, 1928. Experiences at Dartmouth. Intelligence testing. Decision to become a chemist. Parents' reaction. View of being a chemist. Decision to enter Harvard and work with James Conant. Chemistry courses at Dartmouth. State of the chemistry laboratories. Undergraduate research and current opinion of its value. Nonscience courses at Dartmouth.
Graduate Study at Harvard 16
Courses. Picking a research mentor. First research project. Research with Elmer Kohler. Friends and associates at Harvard. Development of interest in biochemistry. Research with Alsoph Corwin. Thoughts on theoretical organic chemistry as a graduate student. Awarded National Research Fellowship. Important conversation with James Conant. Courses with George Kistiakowsky, Elmer Kohler, Louis Fieser and Paul Bartlett. Thoughts on the development of organic chemistry. Reading in organic chemistry—comments on the work of Louis Hammett, Arthur Lapworth, Max Bodenstein, Robert Robinson, Christopher Ingold. First meeting with George Wheland.
Research at Columbia University 32
More on development of interest in biochemistry. Selection by Morris Kharasch for Chicago position. Anti-Semitism in chemistry. Graduate students and faculty at Columbia.
University of Chicago 41
First research papers from Chicago. Teaching physical organic chemistry for the first time. Collaboration with John Kirkwood. Robert Hutchins' view of science. Morris Kharasch and other Chicago faculty. Chicago's emphasis on physical organic chemistry. Important criterion for choosing a research problem. Chromic acid oxidation. Meeting with Jan Rocek in London. Research facilities at Chicago. Postwar atmosphere in chemistry at Chicago—great scientists, exciting problems. Reason for leaving Chicago. Courses taught and textbooks used.
Research Projects and Philosophy 63
Reading the literature. Research productivity and the size of research groups. Project on optically active biphenyls with Joe Mayer. Nitration of aromatic compounds. Work at Bruceton, the Explosives Research Laboratory. Kinetic analysis. Decarboxylation research. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) research—enzymatic oxidation-reduction. Paper of A. G. Ogston on asymmetric decarboxylation. The use of kinetic isotope effects in mechanistic studies. Optically active deuteroethanol. Simultaneous publication with Andrew Streitwieser.
Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows 83
Selection of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The training of graduate students. Former graduate students and postdocs who have been successful.
Physical Organic Chemistry 87
The community in 1935 and 1940. Self-recognition as a community. The community in 1946. Knowledge of Lewis bonding theory as an undergraduate. Delay in the beginning of physical organic chemistry. The effect of successful empirical organic chemistry. Current status of physical organic chemistry.
The Hydrolysis of Phosphate Esters. Pseudorotation. 97
The Future of Chemistry. The Use of Enzymes. 102
The Westheimer Report 104