The Chemical Society of London Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

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    The Chemical Society of London Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

    W A L T E R J . M U R P H Y

    JL Centenary Celebrations of the Chemical Society, which would have been held in 1941 but for the second World War, took place in London July 14 to 17 with all the characteristic British pomp and traditional ceremoiry. Immediately preceding the Xlth International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry, more than 3,000 chemists and chemical engineers from all parts of the world assisted in the clbrt ion of the first century of existence of the Chemical Society, a hundred .years which constitute the most eventful century in known history, and it may be said with-out fear of contradiction that chemistry has played a leading role in making it so.

    The celebration of the hundredth an-niversary of the foundation of the Chemi-cal society just concluded contrasted sharply with the simple affair which marked the actual turn of the century for the society. In a London already badly damaged, fewer than 100 fellows gathered together on April 3, HJ41, for a wartime lunch instead of a ceremonious dinner. But a single overseas guest was present, J. B. Conant, president of Harvard Uni-versity, an honorary fellow of the society,

    who happened to be in England on a scientific mission.

    The words of the retiring presi-dent, Sir Robert Robinson, now president of the Royal Society, uttered on a day when the fate of a free world and a free science rested in the balance, are worth repeating in a report of the cele-brations:

    The society will not rest on its laurels*, and the glories of the next hundred years will equal those of the past. This is the faith in which the pioneers of 1841 would wish us to persevere.

    The first event in the four-day celebra-tion program occurred on Monday, July 14, when the president of the society, Cyril N. Hinshelwood, Oxford University, opened the centenary exhibition at the Science Museum, South Kensington. The chair on this occasion was occupied by the Rt. Hon. George Tomlinson, Minister of Education, who spoke briefly on the great contribution of science and particularly chemistry, during the past 100 years, and expressed the hope that the next century

    2198 C H E M I C A L A N D E N G I N E E R i N G N E W S

    Upper. Plut for ni delegation at the formal opening of the celebrations of the Chemical Society in the Central Hall, Westminster. Lower. Cyril . Ilinshelivood, president of the Chemical Society

    would see great expansion in Great Britain's contribution to the further advancement of science and the determination of the present government to assist in every possible way the achievement of this worthy goal. He also expressed the wish that in the future science would be devoted exclusively to the betterment of mankind and the continued advancement of the standard of living for all the peoples of the world.

    Responding, Dr. Hinshehvood reminded Mr. Tomlinsou that the true university & a collection of books "and that tho present acute shortage of paper in the United Kingdom is a great determent to the dissemination of scientific literature so es-

  • sential to continued progress in science." Sir Robert Robertson concluded the

    brief opening ceremony by thanking all those who had participated in the prepara-tion of the exhibition, and the audience then proceeded to inspect the examples of chemical progress during the past 100 years.

    Scope of the Exhibition

    T h e exhibition is divided into two sec-tions. The historical section, arranged by the joint exhibition committee of the Chemical Society and the X l t h Interna-tional Congress of Pure and Applied Chem-istry, under the chairmanship of Sir Rob-ert Robertson, illustrates the development of chemistry in Britain since 1811.

    T h e modern section, which was or-ganized b y the Depar tment of Scientific and Industrial Research with trie coopera-tion of the Agricultural Research Coun-cil, several research organizations, and other groups, deals with the impact of chemistry on man 's daily life. I t is a splendidly executed presentation of the great strides which have been made in both pure and applied chemistry since the year when 25 chemists met on March 30, 1841, in the rooms of the Royal Society of Arts "in order tha t they might consider the formation of a society for chemistry and mineralogy.' '

    T h e historical section consists of the following: (1) the properties of gases; (2) the solid s ta te ; (3) colloid science and surface chemistry; (4) liquids and solutions; (5) chemical reactions; (6) valency and atomic s t ructure; (7) inor-ganic chemistry; (8) agricultural chem-istry; (9) organic chemistry and bio-chemistry; (10) analytical chemistry.

    Section 2, prepared by James Laurie, is designed to give a clearer idea, to the lay-man of the ramifications and importance of chemistry in everyday life and, by detail-ing a few only of the myriad possible items, endeavors to show how the chemist works and the actual operations he puts into practice to secure the desired result, which m a y be needed for medicine, industry, agriculture, or the home. American

    Sir Robert Robinson, president of the Royal Society, greeting the Chemical Society on behalf of the sister societies of the United Kingdom


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    chemists and chemical engineers viewing th is section were universal in their laudatory comments and many expressed the hope t h a t a somewhat similar exhibit will be developed for widespread showing in t h e United States. .The exhibition will be opened t o the public until Sept. 30. W. . Noyes, Jr., presenting the

    formal address of the American Chemical Society which is reproduced above

    Formal Opening The formal opening of the celebrations

    took place in the Great Central Hall, Westminster, on Tuesday morning, July 15. The opening was preceded by a reception a t which the distinguished visitors and delegates representing kindred socie-M. T. Bogert presenting written addresses of congratulations on behalf of International Union of Chemistry and The Chemists' Club of New York

    V O L U M E 2 5, N O . 31 A U G U S T 4, 1 9 4 7 2199

  • Left. Linus Pauling, ivlio receive*! honorary degree of doctor of science from Uni-versity of London, and became an honorary fellou of the Chemical Society. Right. Sir Henry Dale being made an honorary fellow of the Chemical Society.

    ties and organizations from other coun-tries, from the Empire, and from great Britain were received by the president and the t'cuncil. The proceedings in the great hall opened with the colorful procession of delegates, many in academic dress rep-resenting overseas societies.

    In a historic address the president of the society, Cyril N . HinsKelwood, re-viewed the progress of chemistry by 20-year periods from the foundation of the Chemical Society in 1841. Emphasizing the fact that the society was founded a t a most opportune moment when t h e number of young chemists engaged in doing research was rapidly increasing, it provided the means for discussion a n d publishing their results. I t was a period of bitter controversy. The society pro-vided the one opportunity for bringing together those with divergent and oppos-ing theories which ul t imately were re-solved and the science of chemistry in the modern sense made possible.

    Since 1937 Dr. Ilinshelwood has been Or . Lee's Professor of Chemist ry at Oxford University. One of Britain's outstanding physical chemists, he has made researches

    into the mechanism of chemical reactions which are characterized b.y simple b u t exact experimental methods. His ta lent for clear presentation of his subject is apparent in his books, the best-known of which is "Kinetics of Chemical Change , " first published in 1926. He became a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, in 1920 and a fellow and tutor of Trini ty College in 1921. In 1929 he was elected a fellow of t he Royal Society and received t h e D a v y Medal in 1942. Ba Socit Chim-ique de France awarded him its Lavoisier Medal in 1935.

    At the close of the president 's address Raymond Deiaby, president of the Chem-ical Society of France (founded 1857), speaking in behalf of all the delegates from overseas, congratulated the society on the achievement of its hundredth anni-versary. Following Professor Deiaby ' s address representatives of approximately 30 countries presented written addresses of congratulations which were received b y the president. The formal wri t ten greet-ing from the AMERICAN CHEMICAL S O -

    CIETY was presented by W. Albert Noyes, Jr., President of the SOCIETY. The A M E R -

    ICAN C H EM IC A L SOCIETY was officially

    represented in addition to Dr . Noyes by Secretary Alden H. Emery and Col. Mar-ston T . Bogert, president of the In terna-tional Union of Chemistry.

    T h e president of the Royal Society, Sir Robert Robinson, who was president of the Chemical Society in 1941, then greeted the society in behalf of sister societies in the United Kingdom, and his speech was followed by the presentation of writ ten addresses by representatives of 40 of the leading societies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The president then read a telegram of congratulations from his Majesty , King George VI, after which the proceedings were concluded by a for-mal adjournment ain a procession out of die Great, l iai! by the platform par ty and the delegates

    At a luncheon which immediately fol-lowed, given in honor of the overseas dele-gates by His Majesty's Government , Her-bert Morrison, Lord President of the Coun-cil, s ta ted that the modern world required that the t ime lag between discovery and application must be as short as possible.

    ' ' The quicker the gap can be bridged," he declared, " t he more rapidly can the army of progress advance. Those nat ions which are the first to bridge these gaps become the industrial leaders of the world."

    Attlee Addresses Dinner

    T h e social highlight of the four-day celebration was the centenary dinner held in the Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday evening, with the Prime Minister, t he R t . Hon. Clement R. Attlee, and Mrs. Attlee present.

    " A n y revolutionary changes brought about and conceived by m y friends and myself," said Mr. Attlee, "pale into insig-nificance compared with the revolutions brought about by the chemists ." !\ At t -lee's further remarks t h a t chemists are great revolutionists yet frequently support the Conservative P a r t y provoked

    ftlarstori T. Bogert and Maj. Gen. Alden II. Waitt The lit. lion. C. II. Attlee and Dr. Ilinshelicood

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  • assigned immediately to purely military matters. A key to more efficient utiliza-tion appears to lie in bet ten placement of personnel who are in the orgEunized reserve". Other men were lost to important produc-tion front jobs when they enlisted or accepted commissions becainse they felt it was their patriotic duty orfbecause of the attitude assumed by some draft boards.

    Approximately 78% of tine members re-porting military service Fere below 35 years of age, and of these, ibLmost 50% re-port improper utilization. About 25% of those in the 35 years and o\er group report

    improper utilization. This may be corre-lated with educational level, since a much larger percentage of Ph.D.'s is included in the older age group. In all, the poll indi-cated that almost 40% of those in military service were improperly used in regards to their scientific training, yet in February of 1942 Secretary of War Stimson stated:

    "The army is greatly in need of men of specialized training, particularly in phys-ics, chemistry, engineering, and medicine. We are equally interested in having ade-quate numbers of men of such training available to war production industries and

    T h e C h e m i c a l S^ociety

    (Continued fro?n pape 220)

    chemists were formally admitted to the Society and signed the Obligation Book, including Linus C. Pauling;, who also was among those who received (Ike honorary de-gree of doctor of science ^honoris caiisa) from the University of London at a cere-mony held in the evening.

    Following the Faraday Lecture Professor Hinshelwood presented theuTaraday Medal to Sir Robert Robinson. Professor Hin-shelwood stated that he need not elaborate on the accomplishments of the medalist, that the fact that his niume is now en-rolled along with such otlaer medalists as Hofmann, Mendeleev, Lord Rayleigh, Ostwald, Fischer, RichartHs, Bohr, Lang-muir, and others is sufficient evidence of the esteem with whiclu Sir Robert is held by contemporary chemists.

    Parties and Tours Numerous social functiions were a de-

    lightful part of the memon-able Centenary Celebrations. His MajesUy's Government on Thursday afternoon Leld a garden party at Lancaster Hous*e with Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Morrison receiving the fel-lows of the Chemical Society and members of the Xl th International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry. The same day delegates to the Cein-tenao^ Celebra-tions and distinguished vitsitors from over-

    seas were received at the Royal Institution by Lord Rayleigh, president of the Royal Institution, and Lady Rayleigh. At 8:30 P.M. a reception was held by the Royal Society Burlington House, with the guests received by Sir Robert Robinson and Lady Robinson. On Wednesday evening, July 16, Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., held a large reception in the Connaught Rooms on Great Queen St. These and other functions created the opportunity for the chemists attending to meet informally amid comfortable surroundings and to exchange int...


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