Malcom Dole Distinguished Summer Lectures in Physical Chemistry

The Malcolm Dole Lectures in Physical Chemistry were established by the Department of Chemistry in appreciation for Professor Dole’s lifetime contributions to physical chemistry. In the course of a distinguished Northwestern career of nearly 40 years, including 4 years as Chair of the Materials Research Center, he became internationally renowned for contributions to several major areas of chemistry including electrolyte solutions, isotope effects, and polymers. In 1969, he moved to Baylor University to become Welch Professor of Chemistry, and remained there until his retirement in 1982.

Born in Massachusetts in 1903, Malcolm Dole graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. degree in 1924 and a Ph.D. in 1928. After 2 years of postdoctoral study he joined the faculty at Northwestern University in 1930. While a postdoc at the Rockefeller Institute Dole constructed the first thin membrane glass electrode. He subsequently continued research in this area at Northwestern. His monograph “The Glass Electrode” published in 1941, became the authoritative source in this field and has remained so for decades. Prof. Dole studied the isotopic composition of oxygen from various sources in nature. His discovery of an oxygen isotope cycle which made oxygen in air heavier than that in seas or lakes, now known as the “Dole Effect”, was a major factor leading to replacement of oxygen by carbon as the reference standard for atomic weights.

Prof. Dole also conducted research on electrolyte solutions, and his book, Principles of Theoretical and Experimental Electrochemistry, became widely known and used.

During World War II, Prof. Dole participated in several areas of national defense research serving as director of the Dugway Proving Ground operations in offensive chemical warfare and in the operations of the gaseous diffusion plant for uranium fractionation at Oak Ridge.

After the war, Prof. Dole shifted his focus to the burgeoning area of polymers. He designed and built a highly sensitive and precise adiabatic calorimeter for measuring specific heats and enthalpies of polymers. In 1947-48, he discovered that low density polyethylene could be crosslinked by radiation, a phenomenon that has proved of great practical application. During the remainder of his career he continued his study of the fundamental mechanisms of these free radical crosslinking reactions.

In the course of his career, Prof. Dole authored 210 papers, three books (Theoretical and Experimental Electrochemistry, 1935; The Glass Electrode, 1941 and Introduction to Statistical Thermodynamics, 1954). In addition, he edited the two-volume work “The Radiation Chemistry of Macromolecules” in 1972-3 and contributed eight chapters himself.

Prof. Dole’s research was characterized by remarkable imagination, deep insight and a broad knowledge of science.  He was also exceptionally creative and innovative in several unrelated fields. His personal relationships with students and colleagues were marked with the same enthusiasm and attentive interest that characterized his approach to scientific challenges.


Past Dole Lecturers

2014

Emily Carter

Princeton University

2013

Alexander Pines

University of California, Berkeley

2012   

Allen J. Bard

University of Texas, Austin

2010

Richard Mathies

University of California, Berkeley

2009

Wolfgang Lubitz

Max Planck Institut Mulheim

2008

Stuart A. Rice

University of Chicago

2007

John C. Tully

Yale University

2006

John B. Fenn

Virginia Commonwealth University

2005

Hans-Joachim Freund

Fritz-Haber-Institüt der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

2004

Richard J. Saykally  

University of California, Berkeley

2003

Joshua Jortner

Tel-Aviv University

2002

Wilson Ho

University of California, Irvine

2001

Robin Hochstrasser 

University of Pennsylvania

2000

F. Fleming Crim

University of Wisconsin, Madison

1999

Gabor Somorjai

University of California, Berkeley

1998

Harden McConnell

Stanford University

1997

Michael Klein

University of Pennsylvania

1996

Paul Barbara

University of Minnesota