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In his constant search for better methods of teaching he made a 60-minute color-sound movie “Techniques of Organic Chemistry,” and developed a set of precise plastic molecular models, which are larger than, but have the same relative dimensions as, Dreiding models. Unlike the latter, however, the Fieser models have been so inexpensive to manufacture that even undergraduate students have been able to afford a set.
Because of his expertise in carcinogens, Fieser was, in 1962, appointed by the Surgeon General to a committee to study the matter of the relationship of smoking to health. In 1964, after intensive study and deliberation, his committee submitted the now famous 387-page report expressing the unanimous opinion that “cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance to warrant remedial action.” Ironically Fieser, himself a chain smoker, had to undergo surgery for lung cancer the next year. He was very ill from emphysema and bronchitis too, and might not have survived had he not been endowed with an extraordinarily strong constitution. Having recovered, he was able to continue his
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productive writing career beyond his retirement from Harvard in 1968. In the spring semester of 1968 he was appointed Nielson Professor at Smith College.
Fieser published a total of 341 research papers, 36 of which with Mary, and over 20 books (the majority with Mary) which represent some of the very best writing found in science—clear, highly readable, elegant, and exciting.
He received an honorary D.Sc. degree from Williams in 1939 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1940. Other awards included the Katherine Berkham Judd prize for Cancer Research (1941), D. Pharm Honoris Causa, Universite de Paris (1953), Manufacturing Chemists Association Award for Teaching (1959), Norris Award for Teaching (1959), and the William H. Nichols Medal (1963).
One of his most distinguished colleagues characterized Fieser as a man of extraordinary zeal, whose powerful and energetic constitution allowed him to transform that zeal into action. Not only was his colorful presence a feature of the Harvard scene for decades, but his influence through books and scientific contributions remains worldwide.
William S. Johnson
EDWARD P. HAMILTON
October 3, 1883-December 29, 1977
Edward P. Hamilton, retired President and Chairman of the Board of John Wiley & Sons, New York, and a long-time friend and supporter of Organic Syntheses, died December 29, 1977 in his ninety-fifth year.
Edward P. Hamilton was born in East Orange, New Jersey, son of the late Edward P. and Alice Wiley Hamilton. He attended the Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and was graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in 1907, with a degree in civil engineering. The next seven years were spent in sanitary, hydraulic, and construction projects in the Catskills, Berkshires, and in Cuba. In 1914 he joined the staff of John Wiley & Sons, the oldest book publishing house in New York City, established in 1807 by Mr. Hamilton’s great-grandfather, Charles Wiley.
Mr. Hamilton was elected secretary of John Wiley & Sons in 1916, but, since he had joined Squadron A Cavalry of the New York National Guard, he was called to serve in the Mexican Border action under General John J. Pershing. During 1917-1918, Mr. Hamilton was a First Lieutenant, 306 Field Artillery, 77th Division. In France, he participated in the Baccarat Sector, and later in the Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. During a reconnaissance in the heart of the Argonne Forest in September of 1918, Lts. Hamilton and Salza were captured. Released after the November 11, 1918, Armistice, Lt. Hamilton was promoted to Captaiii in the Field Artillery Reserve in 1919. After discharge, he returned to work at Wiley and resumed visits to universities in search of scientific and technical books.
In 1920, during a visit to the University of Illinois (Urbana) Mr. Hamilton met Roger Adams.1 They discussed the publication of a
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series of small annual volumes containing detailed checked preparations of organic compounds. As the result, the first volume of Organic Syntheses was published in 1921. This was a risky venture. There was no assurance that such specialized scientific books could be profitably sold; the country was in the depths of the post-World War I depression (the Dow Jones Industrials stock average was 65). However, the publication continued throughout the 1930-1946 Depression and continues today. Also, every 10 years a “Collective Volume” was published; now five Collective Volumes and a 50-year Cumulative Index have appeared.2 Later, beginning in 1942, the Organic Reactions Series was published, and in 1949 Biochemical Preparations started. Mr. Hamilton’s friendship led to the publication of the first two volumes of “Organic Chemistry; An Advanced Treatise,” edited by Henry Gilman in 1938. All these publications by John Wiley & Sons helped the education of chemists who were advancing organic chemistry both industrially and scientifically.