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Chemistry

Bessie T. Capen 1877-1880

Capen was born in Stoughton, MA in 1833. She graduated from Wilbraham Academy, Bridgewater Normal School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT she was one of the first women ever to receive instruction in science. At 18, she formed a private school where tuition was 10 cents a week. In 1875 she left a teaching position at Wells School in Boston to head the chemistry department at Wellesley. At the invitation of President Seelye, she came to Smith and took over the chemistry department from 1877 to 1880. She organized Miss Capen’s School for Girls located on Prospect Street. Many graduates of Miss Capen’s attended Smith College. The buildings now known as Capen House and Talbot House were part of the school campus. She died February 11, 1920, and the College became the owners of the property.

 

Sarah Taber, Assistant in Chemistry 1880-1881

Research on Sarah Taber’s career will be added as time and information allows.

 

John Tappan Stoddard, Professor of Chemistry 1880 – 1919

Stoppard was born on October 20, 1852 in Northampton. He graduated from Amherst College in 1874 and received his PhD at the University of Gottingen in 1878. Well known in Smith lore, Professor Stoddard taught chemistry at Smith from 1880 to 1919. Of particular interest are his books for undergraduates. His work, “Science Series: An Outline of Lecture Notes on General Chemistry” (1884) has a charming preface: “This little volume is not intended to take the place of the student’s notes, but simply to serve as a basis of notes to be taken on a first course of experimental lectures on general chemistry. By its use the student will be relieved from the most irksome and least valuable part of his note-taking, and left free to give closer attention to the lecture and its accompanying experiments.” He wrote two more manuals for students, “Introduction to General Chemistry”, 1910 and “Introduction to Organic Chemistry”, 1918. Professor Stoddard wrote about more than just chemistry – his volume on billiards exemplified his quirky pursuits: “The Science of Billiards with Practical Applications” (1913). He was also known for his work with composite photographs at Smith. He died suddenly December 9, 1919.

 

Ellen Parmelee Cook, Associate Professor of Chemistry 1890 – 1931

Ellen Cook was born on June 21, 1865 in Ripon, Wisconsin. She graduated from Smith College in 1893 where she received a B.S. and was a Phi Beta Kappa member. She received an M.A. from Columbia in 1906. Her sister, Mary Cook, taught languages at Smith College. The sisters were asked by the college president to lecture at Ginling, Smith’s sister school in China, and they went to China during Ellen’s sabbatical year in 1923. Professor Cook noted that, “This year in China is giving me an idea of the value of education that I never had before. Think of a nation where reading is a privilege of a small percent of the people.” She also had some thoughts on working at Smith College: “How can one grow old when one’s friends are always of the same age – eighteen to twenty-two? Or rather when she comes back as an alumna to visit us. In how many walks in life has one a chance at say fifty new friends a year, as I have in the college house and in my classes?”

She was a member of the Colloquium, the chemistry club started in 1887. She was instrumental in raising $800 for the portrait of Professor Stoddard (she contacted alumnae for donations) by the artist Wm. Paxton of Boston.

Before traveling to Europe in the summer of 1903, one of her students (signed M.A.D on May 31, 1902) wrote her a poem:

A very pretty Molecule,

(Of atoms made, you know)

Is going to take a journey,

Upon the H2O.

And when the swells are heaving,

I fear we must confess,

This pretty little Molecule,

Will feel like H2S.

So hastily to help her,

As she can’t reach the shore,

For many weary days,

We give her MgSO4.

Alas, this is done vainly,

No better now is she,

So anxiously we give her,

Some CHCl3.

Unconscious then she triumphs,

O’er her malicious foes,

Rejoices when she lands as if

She’d taken N2O.

But Molecules in science,

Are never still at all,

They move around each minute,

And rolling keep the ball.

And something of this habit,

Our Molecule has caught;

For here she’s never idle,

Nor sleeps as sure she ought.

We hope this pretty Molecule

Will let her atoms rest,

So gain a lot in Europe.

My wishes are the best.

Professor Cook travelled extensively around the world. Her personal log of “Summers” showed that she traveled every summer between 1887 and 1934. Her trips included Colorado (1895), Germany and Paris (1896), Revere Nova Scotia (1898), Pacific Coast and Seattle (1909), and the Pacific Ocean and China (1923). Professor Cook was active in research during her Smith tenure. In 1897 she presented and published a paper in the “Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft.” She spoke German fluently, as shown by this paper and the correspondences with German colleagues. She published a paper in 1906 to the Journal of American Chemical Society called, “Researches on Quinazolines: Synthesis of 6-nitro-2-methyl-4-ketodihydroquinzaolines from 5-nitroacetanthranil and Primary Amines. Professor Cook died in May 1947.

 

Ella Elizabeth Eaton, Assistant in Chemistry and Physics, 1881 – 1890

Research on Sarah Taber’s career will be added as time and information allows.

 

Grace Adelle Bruce, Assistant in Chemistry, 1891 – 1894

There is one photo of Grace, but no other information.

 

Florence Jackson, Assistant in Chemistry, 1894 – 1897

There is one picture and one letter.

 

Elizabeth Spaulding Mason, Associate Professor of Chemistry, 1896 – 1931

Elizabeth Mason was a Smith graduate in 1887. She was also a student at MIT from 1889-90 and 1991-93. Previously she taught at a Latin private school called Hingham in 1888 and at Latin, Science, Yonkers, New York from 1890-91. She was the private assistant of Ellen H. Richards at MIT 1893-96. Only a few photos and one letter of faculty recommendation for a student exist in her file.

 

Jessie Yereance Cann, Professor of Chemistry, 1918 – 1952

Jessie Cann graduated from Goucher College in 1904, then received her A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. She was a specialist in electrochemistry and thermodynamics. Professor Cann made her mark on Smith College as the first professor to teach physical chemistry: she “introduced Physical Chemistry, a key course for majors, into the curriculum 32 years ago [1920], beginning with no apparatus whatsoever, while the field itself was still in its infancy, and keeping her students steadily abreast of its extraordinary growth.” (Press release for Gazette, June 1952).

Cann was a prolific chemist, with 13 publications listed in her file. An example of two are shown here: “Relationship between Composition and Boiling Point of Aqueous Solutions of Sodium Silicate,” Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, May 1925, Vol. 17, pp. 512-14.

“The Potential of the Ag(s), AgI(s), I- Electrode”; Journal of the American Chemical Society, LIX, 1484-86, August, 1937.

She died of a stroke on February 21, 1964 at age 80.

 

Mary Foster Louise, Professor of Chemistry, 1908 – 1933

Foster was born on April 20, 1865 in Melrose, Massachusetts. She spoke French and German and was active in the Unitarian Church. Applying to Smith, she was prepared to teach a variety of subjects including: astronomy, botany, chemistry, domestic art and science, German, mineralogy, physics. Interestingly, her starting salary was listed as $3000/year in 1908. She spent two years (1920-22) in Spain teaching American laboratory methods to the women students of the University of Madrid. In 1927-28, she returned to Spain to equip the new laboratory University of Madrid in the American style, which was named “Foster Laboratory.” She returned again in 1930 on a grant to determine “What was the real status of chemistry bequeathed to Spain by the Arabs?”

Mary Louise Foster received her A.B. from Smith College in 1891 where she pursued Classical Courses. She obtained an A.M. from Smith College in 1912 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1914. She was particularly interested in the history of chemistry. In 1930, she won a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to study “Alchemy in Spain.” She specifically wanted to study the un-translated works of alchemists in the libraries of Salamanca, Madrid, Toledo, El Escorail, and Barcelona. She belonged to several professional societies: “The History of Science Society, American Council of Learned Societies, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Saturday Morning Club of Boston, Massachusetts (1942-49).”

Professor Foster had 12 publications. Two examples are, “A Method for the Quantitative Determination of Indol, Herter and Foster, Jour. Of Biol. Chem., 1906, 1, 257” and “A Comparative Study of the Metabolism of Pneumococcus, Streptococcus, Bacillus Lactis Erythrogenes, and Bacillus Antrocoides, Foster, Jour. Amer. Chem. Soc., 1913, 35, 9.”

Foster was an extensive scrap-booker, archiving articles for several decades. She kept one poem about herself in the front of the scrap book:

Lady Foster is a chemist

Pride of laboratory fine,

And she also mixes salad,

Every evening when we dine.

 

C. Pauline Burt, Professor of Chemistry

Burt at the University of Leipzig during her sabbatical year (1935).

Burt at the University of Leipzig during her sabbatical year (1935).

 

Burt with student in Hillyer Hall (undated).

Burt with student in Hillyer Hall (undated).

 

C. Pauline Burt was born on August 15, 1890. Educated at Pennsylvania College for Women (B.A. 1914), Mt. Holyoke College (M.A. 1916), and Yale University (Ph.D. 1925), she specialized in organic chemistry. Her legacy at Smith included 20 years coordinating the chemistry department with the Cooley Dickinson Hospital School of Nursing, as well as forming ties with international colleagues: she spent her sabbatical leave in Germany at the University of Leipzig.

Professor Burt was active in promoting women in the sciences. She spoke at the Men’s Science Club of Amherst about “Recent Developments of Chemistry in Medicine” in 1938. She took her students to industrial locations, such as the laboratory and mills of the American Writing Paper company in Holyoke and the factory of the Fisk Tire Company in Chicopee Falls, MA. She belonged to several societies: Iota Sigma Pi (women in science), Sigma Xi, American Chemical Society, American Association of University Professors, American Association for Advancement of Science.

Burt authored numerous publications. She wrote an article on John Stoddard for the Dictionary of American Biography. She thought women were suited for synthetic drug field because, “Vision and patience are the two most important factors in successful scientific research. Women are so much more careful than men and if they are scientific minded at all, possess a great deal of vision and imagination.” In that same article, she was also asked if the average girl ever uses chemistry after her graduation from college, to which she replied, “Well, perhaps not, but the mental training she receives is invaluable to her in later years. Such a course keeps one mentally wide-awake, a quality every modern girl not only wants, but must possess to keep in the swim of things today.” (Burrelle’s Press clipping bureau, December 28, 1939. Article entitled, “Synthetic Drug Field Seen as Opportunity for Women: Smith College Chemistry Head Points Out Important Factors in Scientific Research”) In 1926 she spoke to the Daughters of the American Revolution about “Plastics in Wearing Apparel,” specifically on the uses of rayon and nylon and their relation to cellophane and Bakelite. She also described the composition of spun glass and the new synthetic wools, showing samples of the various materials. Burt received numerous awards, notably the Distinguished Service Award (1956) from Chatham College, her alma mater, along with Rachel Carson, Mary Hostler Green, and Eleanor Gangloff Morris who were also alumnae.

Outside of the classroom, Burt was interested in collecting glass, antique furniture, and had 5 cats. She died August 22, 1980 at 90 years old.

 

Harry Edward Wells, Professor of Chemistry 1920 – 1942

Wells was born in Hudson Falls, New York and was educated at Middlebury College (B.S. in 1894 and A.M. in 1895) and the University of Leipzig (PhD in 1897) Before coming to Smith, Wells was part of a food investigation with Professor Atwater (1898-1900), then worked at Allegheny College (1902-07), and was a Professor at Washington and Jefferson College (1907-18). He also taught chemistry at Harvard (1919-20), specializing in atomic weight research.

During WWI he was a captain in the Chemical Warfare Service, and in WWII he was associated with the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft plant at Hartford. His research interests included organic chemistry, particularly in the theories of atomic structure. He added to the branch concerning colloids. He does not have any publications listed in his file. He married Violet Harper and had 3 sons (eventually 4 grandchildren). He died May 26, 1947 at age 74.

 

Dorothy Louise Cheek, Assistant in Chemistry, 1922 – 1924

There was no personal information about Dorothy. One copy of her publication, which is titled “Relationship between Composition and Boiling Point of Aqueous Solutions of Sodium Silicate,” was co-authored with Professor Jessie Y. Cann in May 1925.

 

Gilbert H. Ayres, Associate Professor of Chemistry, 1931 – 1947

Professor Ayres was educated at Taylor University (B.A. in 1925), University of Wisconsin (PhD in 1930). He had two daughters, Margaret and Barbara who attended Northampton High School.

Before teaching at Smith, he was an instructor in Chemistry at Taylor University (1925-27), Assistant in Chemistry 1927-30, instructor in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin 1930-31. In 1943, he took a leave of absence from Smith to accept a commission as lieutenant in the navy for duty as instructor in anti-submarine warfare.

While at Smith, Ayres and collaborator Dr. H. H. Willard of the University of Wisconsin developed a new instrument to analyze concentration of colored substances in solutions, which was used commercially to insure uniform color in industrial products (1939). It is called a thermo-electric absorptiometer and it used light rays to make possible a more rapid analysis of the concentration of colored substances than formerly was possible.

He left Smith in 1947 to become the Head of Division of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Texas where he was in charge of the undergraduate and graduate course in quantitative analysis. He also supervised research in analytical chemistry for candidates in the masters and doctorate programs.

Professor Ayres had numerous journal articles and one book, “Experiments in General Chemistry.” Of note, in 1935 the ‘common experiments’ were “use of the analytical balance” and “the colloidal condition.” In the introduction he stated, “If the student is to be taught the scientific method and learn to reason, it is of utmost importance first to observe keenly.”

 

 

Elizabeth La Rue, Assistant in Chemistry, 1931 – 1933

La Rue attended Carleton College and was from Wisconsin. It is unclear whether she obtained her masters from Smith College. She published one article while at Smith: “The Potential of the Ag(s), AgCl(s), KCl(aq), AgCl(s), Ag(s) Cell, Showing the Effect of Flowing the Electrolyte over One Electrode Only,” in the Journal of American Chemical Society, 54, 3456 (1932).

 

Gretchen B. Mueller, Assistant in Chemistry, 1932 – 1934

She co-authored an article with Jessie Y. Cann: “The Potential of the Ag(s), Ag2CrO4(s), CrO4=Electrode,” in the Journal of American Chemical Society, 57, 2525 (1935). Of note, the superscript font did not exist in 1935, so the superscript -2 symbol for chromate was instead “=”

 

Alice C. Taylor, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry, 1934 – 1936

Taylor co-authored two publications with Jessie Y. Cann: “The Potential of the Ag(s), AgI(s), I- Electrode”; Journal of the American Chemical Society, LIX, 1484-86, August, 1937, and “Thermodynamics of Lead Iodide,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 59, 1987, 1937.

 

Stephen Julius Tauber, Associate Professor of Chemistry, 1959 – 1962

Tauber was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 8, 1932. His field of interest was physical organic chemistry. In 1959, he listed his research interest specifically as the “reaction of perchloric acid with butene.”

He received a B.A. at Cornell University (1952), and an AM and PhD at Harvard (1953, 1958). His B.A. work received distinction in “chemistry, in mathematics, and in general studies”. His PhD work was on addition of alkyllithiums to unsaturated hydrocarbons. Before and after his doctoral work he completed several fellowships: National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Celanese Fellowship, National Heart Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, National Research Council (Canada) Post-Doctoral Fellowship. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and American Civil Liberties Union. His interests were folk dancing, philately, and skiing.

 

Francene Smith, Teaching Fellow, 1938 – 1939

Smith was born in East Walpole, Massachusetts. She received her B.S. at Massachusetts State College (1936) (now the University of Massachusetts) and an M.A. at Smith College (1938). Her field was Quantitative Analysis. She was a member of Phi Zeta Sorority and Sigma Xi. After her teaching fellowship, she was a technician at the Cornell Medical College in NYC.

 

Kenneth Wayne Sherk, Professor of Chemistry 1935 – 1972

Laboratory experiment (undated).

Laboratory experiment (undated).

 

Kenneth Sherk was born in Cottage Grove, Oregon, on March 29, 1907. He attended Reed College for his A.B. (1924-28) and Cornell University for his PhD (1934). He was an Assistant Cornell University (1928-30, 1931-32), a Fellow at Rice Institute (1930-31), and a Pfister Research Fellow at Cornell (1932-35). He came to Smith in 1935 as an Assistant Professor in the fields of organic, inorganic, and theoretical chemistry, specializing in nitrogen compounds. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and Sigma Xi. He had six children with his wife Dorothy Blacking. During WWII, he did “confidential research for the Texas Company” and was “director for Region II of the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety (civilian defense).” He was involved in many clubs (the Masons, Lions, Acacia Fraternity) and he identified as a Republican and a Protestant on a “faculty biographical form.”

His full list of publications includes: Oxidation of Hydrazine. IX. Mono and Di-delectrocution of Hydrazine by Permanganate in Hydrochloric Acid Solution. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (Analytical Edition), 1, 54, 1935.

Comments on the New Nomenclature for Acids, Bases, and Salts. Journal of Chemical Education, 13, 358, 1936.

Formation of Aminomonopersulfuric Acid by the Interaction of Fuming Sulfuric Acid and Hydrogen Azide. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 61, 1083, 1939.

The Action of Ethyl Azide and Phenyl Azide on Fuming Sulfuric Acid, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 62, 329, 1940.

Incendiary Bombs. Wilson Press, 1942 (Pamphlet).

A Low Pressure Method for Wolff-Kishner Reduction. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 67, 1435, 1945.

The Reaction of Hydroxylamine-o-sulfonic Acid with Ketones. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 67, 1945.

High Molecular Weight Hydrocarbons. I. Eicosane, Phenyleiconsane, and 3-Ethyloctadecane. Journal of the American Chemi cal Society, 67, 2239, 1945.

High Molecular Weight Hydrocarbons. II. Five New Hydrocarbons Derived from Sebacic Acid (with M. D. Soffer, Marjorie D. Trail, and Natalie S. Strauss), Journal of the American Chemical Society, 69, 1684, 1945.

The Formation of Azides in the Reaction of Hydrogen Azide with Diarylethylenes, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 75, 354, 1953.

The World of Atoms (assisting J. J. G. McCue), New York, The Ronald Press Company, 1956, 700 pp.; second edition 1963, 770 pp.

Professor Sherk won several research grants:

Synthesis of High Molecular Weight Hydrocarbons, Petroleum Research Fund, Grant 275B, $3000, September 1958-59.

In-Service Institute for Secondary School Teachers of Science and Mathematics, NSF G-11610, $30,150, September 1960 to June 1961. Inorganic Program, Reed College, summer 1962.

In-Service Institute for Secondary School Teachers of Science, NSF GE 1771, $23,580, September 1963 to September 1964.

He further served on committees:

Was the Instructor of Advanced Placement Chemistry Summer Institute at Loyola University in New Orleans, LA (director 1966-68).

Chief Reader for Advanced Placement Chemistry, Education Testing Service, Princeton, N. J. (1969 – )

Board of Directors of Western Massachusetts Girl Scout Council (1967 – )

 

Stanley M. Bloom, Instructor of Chemistry, 1957 – 1959

Bloom was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 14, 1931. He was married to Arlene N. Bloom. His field of research was organic chemistry, and he studied non-benzenoid aromatic compounds, and the elucidation of the structure and the mode of biosynthesis of naturally occurring compounds. His degrees include a B.S. from MIT in 1953, an M.A. from Harvard in 1955, and a PhD from Harvard in 1957. Before Smith he was a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellow (1953-54), a General Electric Fellow (1955-56), and a Post-doctoral fellow in biochemistry (worked on folic acid metabolism) with Professor David Sprinson at Columbia (1956-57). His memberships included: The American Chemical Society, The Chemical Society of England, and his interests were current affairs, chess, and softball.

 

Frances Dodge, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry, 1946 – 1947

Dodge was born in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 1920. She attended Gettysburg College and received a BA in 1941. Before coming to Smith in 1946, she held several positions. Dodge was a chemist with Glen Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore, MD 1941-42, a chemist with DuPont DeNemours and Company in Gibbstown, New Jersey 1942-44 and also at DuPont in Barksdale, Wisconsin from 1944-45, and an organic chemist at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington from 1945-46.

 

Ann Donaldson, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry, 1947 – 1949

Born in Flushing, New York on February 25, 1926 to John Stewart Donaldson and Estelle Johnsen, Donaldson attended Buchnell University and received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1947. Her position after college was at Smith. She was a member of several societies: Pi Mu Epsilon, Alpha Lambda Delta, American Chemical Society, and Kappa Chi Lambda.

 

George Bernard Diamond, Instructor in Chemistry, 1947 – 1949

Born in Russia on February 28, 1921, Diamond attended McGill University and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Engineering (Chemistry) in 1943 and a Masters Degree in Engineering (Chemistry) in 1948. He was an instructor at Loyola College from 1945-47 and a supervisor at the distiller’s Seagrams from 1943-45. His field of interest was electrical engineering (spray drying), electrochemistry, organic chemistry, and electrochemical reactions of organic compounds.

During WWII, he served in Canadian Officers Training Corp COTC. Outside of the classroom, he was a photographer. He belonged to the Engineering Institute of Canada, Cooperation of Professional Engineers, and the American Chemical Society.

 

Joan Seger Dominick, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry from 1952 – 1953

From Newberry, South Carolina, Dominick was born in Washington, D.C. on December 15, 1930. Her field of research was organic chemistry. She graduated from Newberry College with an AB in 1951, magna cum laude and was interested in music, specifically the piano and organ.

 

Demet Dincer, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry from 1959 – 1960

Dincer was born in Ankara, Turkey on July 14, 1939 to Ali Saim Dincer and Nimet Dincer. She received a B.S. from the American College for Girls in Istanbul, Turkey in 1959.

 

Milton D. Soffer, Professor of Chemistry, 1942 – 1985

Soffer was born December 11, 1914 in New York, NY. Soffer received his B.S. in 1937 from University of Arkansas, an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1939 and 1942, specializing in organic chemistry. He was a post-doctoral fellow from 1941-42 at Purdue University. He was the advisor of Lâle Burk who described him (in his obituary published December 23, 1985) “…one of the rare teachers who could make things clear to any student. He was very accessible, and made chemistry fun.” At Smith, where he worked for 43 years, he taught organic chemistry and published some 40 academic papers. In 1944 he was appointed an Assistant Professor and in 1950 an Associate Professor, was granted tenure in 1950, and became a Sophia Smith professor in 1970. In 1950, Soffer spent the year at Oxford University as a Guggenheim Fellow where he worked with the 1947 Nobel Prize recipient Sir Robert Robinson. Soffer was also a visiting professor at Hollins College and UMass on the graduate faculty.

From the Daily Hampshire Gazette (September 25, 1966): Soffer was awarded a National Science Foundation Grant (of $11,700) to support the research being carried out by Lâle Aka Burk, a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Four-College PhD Program. The research project was entitled, “Synthetic and Structural Investigations of Natural Products,” and the aims were to elucidate the structure of the molecules of natural substances from plant tissues, as well as the synthesis of these substances in the laboratory.

Upon Soffer’s death in 1985, several students wrote to the chemistry department: One student, Genevieve Turner Eltonhead (class of 1944), wrote this to Professor George Fleck, dated March 12, 1986:

Dear Mr. Fleck,

Please forgive me for taking so long to respond to your letter about Mr. Soffer, but the news was a real shock to me. I guess I always thought of him as immortal. He was not only brilliant but fun as well – the best professor I’ve ever had…

Another student, Margaret G. wrote this on January 7, 1986:

Dear Mr. Fleck,

Thank you for informing me of Mr. Soffer’s death. I share in the loss to the Smith College community. I remember him as a teacher, mentor, benefactor, and friend. We were last together thirty years ago, just before I was married, and corresponded for a long time. He would note the appearance of my publications and eight children, particularly in Christmas greetings. I was a working mother long before it became the norm… By pure chance, we met through George Diamond with whom Mr. Soffer had published on electrolytic reductions…Mr. Soffer had received a NSF grant and needed a research fellowing August, he visited George at the apartment. One day, George came into our laboratory hunting for someone who wanted a Masters degree. “What about me?” I asked. Shortly afterwards, I met Mr. Soffer. The rest is part of our mutual history. It was my good fortune to spend two wonderful years at Smith. I could not have afforded such an opportunity without this fellowship. On graduation day I took leave in a literal flood of tears, leave from a very special friend named Milton. It is this special friend for whom I mourn and pray. If Smith College is planning a memorial, I would appreciate an invitation to participate in it.

A clipping from the Daily Hampshire Gazette (undated): “Prof Milton D. Soffer of Smith College was injured yesterday when a ‘fake’ bomb he was working on for the forthcoming ‘E Equals MC Squared,’ exploded, giving him first and second degree burns on the face. Prof Soffer had been asked by the college’s theater department to construct a reasonable facsimile of an A-bomb.”

Professor Soffer was quoted in Reactions, a Smith publication as saying: “The aim of pure research is to ask questions of nature in such a way that nature must answer, and answer unambiguously.”

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