Department Pioneers

Dr. Neil E. Gordon

The founder of the Gordon Research Conferences, rose through the university ranks (1919 – 1921) at the University of Maryland, then known as the State Agricultural College at College Park, to be appointed Department Chair and State Chemist in 1921.  He was the first Secretary of the Division of Chemical Education (1921) and the founder (1924) and first editor of the Journal of Chemical Education while at Maryland.

Dr. Marjorie Gardner

Dr. Marjorie Gardner was devoted to the teaching of science throughout her life. Beginning as a high school teacher in Utah, she was instructor in chemistry and science education at Ohio State University before coming to the University of Maryland in 1964 as professor of chemistry and secondary education. She established her reputation as a crusader for science education while at Maryland and in 1984 accepted the position of Director of the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley.

Dr. Nathan L. Drake

Head of the university’s chemistry department from 1940 until his death in 1959, joined the faculty at the University of Maryland as professor of industrial chemistry in 1926 and became professor of organic chemistry two years later.  He instituted the Institute for Molecular Physics at Maryland in 1950, and he edited Volumes 21 and 24 of Organic Synthesis.

Dr. William Bailey

joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Maryland in 1951 where he distinguished himself and the university by his research and public service.  A dominant figure in the field of polymer synthesis, he invented a new class of polymers and processes for preparing biodegradable polymers, and in 1990 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. President of the American Chemical Society in 1975. He was also chairman of the ACS Board of Directors.

Dr. Morris Selig Kharasch

Dr. Morris Selig Kharasch, noted organic chemist and founder of the Journal of Organic Chemistry, was born in Kremenetz, in the Ukraine, in 1895. He came to the University of Maryland in 1922 as Associate Professor after having obtaining his B. S. (1917) and Ph.D. (1919) degrees, and holding a NRC Fellowship at the University of Chicago. When he was at the University of Maryland, he carried out theoretical studies on thermochemistry and valuable experimental research on the chemistry of compounds of mercury. In 1924 he was appointed Professor at Maryland, and during that academic year he is listed as teaching separate courses in Advanced Organic Chemistry, Identification of Organic Compounds, Carbon-Hydrogen Analysis, Organic Preparations, Dyes, Carbohydrates, Synthetic Drugs, Selected Topics, and Research. He returned to the University of Chicago as Associate Professor of Chemistry in 1928.

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