UC Berkeley press release

NEWS RELEASE, 11/21/97

Gilman Hall on the UC Berkeley campus is now an official National Historic Chemical Landmark

by Jane Scheiber

The world's largest scientific organization, the American Chemical Society (ACS), has designated Gilman Hall on the University of California at Berkeley campus a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The designation recognizes the important contributions to chemical research and teaching made by the faculty and students in Gilman Hall, especially during the years prior to 1950.

ACS President Paul S. Anderson presented College of Chemistry Dean Alexis T. Bell with a plaque on Nov. 20 marking the designation. The inscription reads:

Gilman Hall was built in 1916-1917 to accommodate an expanded College of Chemistry under the leadership of Gilbert Newton Lewis. This building provided research and teaching facilities for faculty and students specializing in physical, inorganic, and nuclear chemistry. Work here by G. N. Lewis and K. S. Pitzer helped advance the fields of chemical thermodynamics and molecular structure. Research performed in Gilman Hall has resulted in two Nobel Prizes: to William F. Giauque in 1949 for his studies on the behavior of substances at extremely low temperatures, and to Glenn T. Seaborg in 1951 for discoveries in the transuranium elements. Four other individuals who did research here subsequently received Nobel Prizes.

UC Berkeley emeritus professors Kenneth S. Pitzer and Glenn T. Seaborg spoke at the ceremony commemorating the designation, as did Michael Kasha, professor at Florida State University and the last student of the late G. N. Lewis.

Designed by John Galen Howard, the building was dedicated in March, 1918, the 50th anniversary year of the University. It was named for Daniel Coit Gilman, president of the University of California from 1872 to 1875. Room 307 Gilman, where Glenn Seaborg and his coworkers identified plutonium as a new element in 1941, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Gilman Hall has been used continuously by the College of Chemistry for 80 years. Today it is occupied by the Department of Chemical Engineering, which is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization of more than 152,000 chemists and chemical engineers. Its National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program recognizes this country's scientific and technical heritage and acknowledges particularly significant achievements in chemistry and chemical engineering. Mary F. Singleton of Pleasanton is Chair of the California Section.

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