Charles Phelps Smyth

Charles Phelps Smyth
Charles Phelps Smyth
Born February 10, 1895(1895-02-10)
Clinton, New York, United States
Died March 18, 1990(1990-03-18) (aged 95)
Bozeman, Montana, United States
Residence Princeton, New Jersey
Citizenship United States
Nationality United States
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Princeton University
Alma mater Princeton University
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Theodore William Richards
Doctoral students William O. Baker
Notable awards Medal of Freedom (1947)
Nichols Medal (1954)

Charles Phelps "Charlie" Smyth[1] (February 10, 1895 – March 18, 1990) was an American chemist. He was educated at Princeton University and Harvard University. From 1920 to 1963 he was a faculty member in the Princeton Department of Chemistry, and from 1963 to 1970 he was a consultant to the Office of Naval Research. He was awarded the Nichols Medal by the New York Section of the American Chemical Society in 1954.

During World War I he worked in the National Bureau of Standards and the Chemical Warfare Service, and during World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project and Operation Alsos. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1947 for the last.

Contents

Personal life

Smyth was born February 10, 1895, in Clinton, New York,[1] to Ruth Anne Phelps[2] and Charles Henry Smyth, Jr., a professor of geology at Hamilton College. Woodrow Wilson, then President of Princeton University, convinced Charles Henry Smyth, Jr., to join the faculty at Princeton, and in 1905 the family moved to Princeton, New Jersey.[1]

Charles Phelps Smyth and his younger brother, Henry DeWolf Smyth, attended the same primary and secondary schools. The younger Smyth also received undergraduate and master's degrees from Princeton, but in physics, and became a Princeton faculty member like Charles Phelps Smyth and their father. Both brothers served in the Chemical Warfare Service in World War I and on the Manhattan Project.[2][3]

In 1955 he married Emily Ellen Vezin.[1] His 1990 New York Times obituary mentions his wife but does not mention children.[4]

Education

In Princeton, Charles Phelps Smyth attended Miss Fine's School,[1] which later became the Princeton Day School,[5] and the Lawrenceville School. He then entered Princeton as an undergraduate, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in 1916 and remained at Princeton to obtain a Master of Arts degree in 1917.[1]

During World War I, he served in the National Bureau of Standards, where he worked on electroplating, and the Chemical Warfare Service, where he worked on poison gas.[6] After the war, in 1921, he received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard. Theodore William Richards advised him in his dissertation on thallium amalgam.[1]

Academic career

Smyth was appointed an instructor at Princeton in 1920;[1] he taught a freshman chemistry laboratory class there while finishing his Harvard dissertation. He was made an assistant professor in 1923, an associate professor in 1927, a full professor in 1938, and the David B. Jones Professor of Chemistry in 1958. He retired from Princeton in 1963.[6] From 1963 to 1978 he was involved with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as a consultant and, in 1969 and 1970, served as the ONR's liaison scientist in London.[1]

Smyth's research was in chemical physics, specifically on dielectric properties of matter.[1] An early discovery on dipole moment proved correct August Kekulé's conjecture on the structure of benzene.[6] His collaborators at Princeton included Karl Taylor Compton. Smyth mentored over 50 doctoral students,[1] included William O. Baker.[7] He published two books and over 300 research articles. He was an associate editor of the Journal of Chemical Physics during 1933–36 and 1952–54.[8]

The New York Section of the American Chemical Society awarded Smyth the William H. Nichols Medal in 1954.[9] He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1932 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1955. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.[4]

World War II

Smyth joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1937 and was commissioned as a lieutenant commander. He resigned in 1937.[1] From 1943 to 1945 he worked on deuterium in the Manhattan Project,[6] mostly from Princeton.[1] He also served as a consultant to the War Department.[4]

In 1945, close to the end of the war in Europe, Smyth joined the covert Operation Alsos. The 50-year-old chemist flew to Europe to help determine the state of the German nuclear weapons program and capture equipment and personnel. At an abandoned factory in Celle he discovered a centrifuge used for uranium enrichment, inspiring a frantic effort to find Paul Harteck. Smyth also hunted Paul Herold, Eberhardt Elbel,[10] and a Professor Osenberg.[11] Smyth was awarded the Medal of Freedom for his work with Alsos.[8]

Later years and legacy

Smyth remained active in chemistry later in life, publishing a review paper as late as 1982. In 1987 he and his wife Emily moved to Bozeman, Montana, where he died on March 18, 1990.[6]

After his death, Emily endowed a chair in the Chemistry Department in his name. When she died in 2009, she endowed an additional two assistant professorships.[12] The sitting and to date only Charles Phelps Smyth Professor of Chemistry is Herschel Rabitz.[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kauzmann, Walter; Roberts, John D. (2010). Charles Phelps Smyth, 1895–1990. National Academy of Sciences. http://nas.nasonline.org/site/DocServer/Smyth_Charles.pdf?docID=73881. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b "Henry DeWolf Smyth papers, 1885–1987". American Philosophical Society. http://amphilsoc.org/mole/view?docId=ead/Mss.Ms.Coll.15-ead.xml. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  3. ^ Schwartz, Rebecca Press (Sep 2008). The making of the history of the atomic bomb: Henry DeWolf Smyth and the historiography of the Manhattan Project (Ph.D. thesis). Princeton University. 
  4. ^ a b c Foderaro, Lisa W. (1990-03-25). "Charles Smyth, 94; chemistry professor worked on A-bomb". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/25/obituaries/charles-smyth-94-chemistry-professor-worked-on-a-bomb.html. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  5. ^ "About Princeton Day School: History". Princeton Day School. http://www.pds.org/podium/default.aspx?t=135815. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Charles P. Smyth". Chemical Heritage Foundation. http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/collections/oral-histories/details/smyth-charles-p.aspx. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  7. ^ Princeton University Library. "William O. Baker Papers, 1912–2008". http://findingaids.princeton.edu/getEad?eadid=MC218. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  8. ^ a b Princeton University Library (2009). "Charles Phelps Smyth Papers, 1918–1995". http://findingaids.princeton.edu/getEad?eadid=C0367. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  9. ^ New York Section of the American Chemical Society. "NY-ACS Nichols Medalists". http://www.newyorkacs.org/nicholsmedalists.html. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  10. ^ Mangravite, Andrew (Summer 2011). Chemical Heritage Magazine. http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/magazine/articles/29-2-hot-pursuit.aspx. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  11. ^ Goudsmit, Samuel A. (1996). Alsos. Springer. p. 93. http://books.google.com/books?id=3v2ttYJ_d2kC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  12. ^ Princeton University (January 2010). "A family (faculty) chair". http://giving.princeton.edu/news/archive/smyth.xml. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  13. ^ "Herschel A. Rabitz: personal and professional vita". Princeton University Department of Chemistry. http://www.princeton.edu/~hrabitz/vita.html. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Charles Smyth — may refer to: Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819–1900), Scottish astronomer Charles Owen Smyth (1851–1925), Irish born Australian civil servant Charles Phelps Smyth (1895–1990), American chemist Charles Henry Smyth, known as Harry Smyth (1910–1992),… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry De Wolf Smyth — Titelseite des Smyth Reports Henry De Wolf Smyth (auch Henry DeWolf Smyth; * 1. Mai 1898 in Clinton, New York; † 11. September 1986) war ein US amerikanischer Physiker, Diplomat und Verwaltungsfachmann, der einige wichtige Aufgaben in der frühen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Anexo:Botánicos por la abreviatura del autor — Autor botánico es quien por primera vez describe una planta. Su nombre científico viene dado por su nomenclatura binomial seguida de la abreviatura del autor/es botánico/s. Así Aconitum anthora L. indica que fue nombrada por Carlos Linneo, el… …   Wikipedia Español

  • List of Vice-Chancellors of the University of Cambridge — The Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge is the main administrative and academic officer of the university, and is elected by the Regent House for a term of up to seven years.Prior to 1992, the position was part time, the post holder… …   Wikipedia

  • Manhattan Project — This article is about the atomic bomb project. For other uses, see Manhattan Project (disambiguation). Manhattan District The Manhattan Project created the first nuclear bombs. The Trinity test …   Wikipedia

  • List of Baptists — The following list of Baptists is a catalogue of those who were members of Baptist churches or who were raised in Baptist churches. It is not intended to imply that all those who appear on the list were practicing Baptists or that they remained… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste Des Généraux De L'Union — Liste des officiers généraux de l’armée de l Union, durant la guerre de Sécession : Liens internes Liste des généraux de la Confédération Grades Général = général d armée, Lieutenant général = général de corps d armée, Major général =… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des generaux de l'Union — Liste des généraux de l Union Liste des officiers généraux de l’armée de l Union, durant la guerre de Sécession : Liens internes Liste des généraux de la Confédération Grades Général = général d armée, Lieutenant général = général de corps d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des généraux de l'Union — Liste des officiers généraux de l’armée de l Union, durant la guerre de Sécession : Grades Général = général d armée, Lieutenant général = général de corps d armée, Major général = général de division, Brigadier général = général de brigade… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des généraux de l'union — Liste des officiers généraux de l’armée de l Union, durant la guerre de Sécession : Liens internes Liste des généraux de la Confédération Grades Général = général d armée, Lieutenant général = général de corps d armée, Major général =… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”