Monday, April 23, 2018

What's In A Name?

Image result for chemist

Environmental & Science Education
History of Science
Edward Hessler

Universities and colleges have a practice of naming buildings after people. Koltoff Hall is one of the buildings serving to enclose the mall on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota. The building was designated a national chemical landmark by the American Chemical Association in 2014. Who was Koltoff?

Izaak Maurits (Piet)  Koltoff (February 11 1894 - March 4 1993) was professor of analytical chemistry at the UM-TC from 1927 - 1962. He is the father of modern analytical chemistry, transforming it from a toolbox of laboratory techniques to a major chemical branch. 
Koltoff's productivity was staggering: nearly 1000 scientific papers, 51 Ph.D. students and oversaw the production of an enormous study of analytic chemistry (28 years, 17000 pages, 30 volumes, 295 authors).  During WWII he made major contributions to the development of a techniques to produce synthetic rubber.  He was the recipient of every major chemistry award, short of the Nobel Prize. 

Paul Nelson wrote a short biography of this remarkable chemist for MNopedia, published in MINNPOST, April 4, 2018. I didn't know that he lived on the UM-TC campus from 1927 until shortly before his death. Nor did I know Kolthoff's motto which nicely summarizes scientific practice: Theory guides, experiment decides.

And if you link to the MNopedia entry there is a chronology of events in Koltoff's life.
The Wikipedia entry provides other details of this remarkable chemist and person.

No comments:

Post a Comment