Dr. John Sharkey
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Mountainside, NY, 07092
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Department of Chemistry
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The Committee on the New York Section History records and celebrates
The New York Section designates the location of historical achievements in chemistry as New York Section Historical Landmarks. To date, these include:
the historical impact of chemistry in the New York region.
The New York Section also works with the American Chemical Society on selecting recipients for the National Chemical Historical Landmark Designation.
The Chemistry Building at Brookhaven National Laboratories (Upton, NY) for the synthesis of the positron emission tomography tracer 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (18FDG)
The Chemist's Club at 41st St. in New York, NY
The IBM Watson Research Center in Westchester, NY
The New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY
The New York Section has successfully nominated seven National Historical Landmarks, the greatest number of any ACS Local Section. These include:
The Chemical Heritage Foundation studies the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. It focuses on the sciences and technologies of matter and materials and their effect on our modern world,
in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies.
CHF collects, preserves, and exhibits historical artifacts. It engages communities of scientists and engineers. It tells the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.
The Bakelizer, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (Jointly with the ACS North Jersey Section
The National Museum of American History houses the original Bakelizer, the steam pressure vessel used by chemist-entrepreneur Leo Hendrik Baekeland
to commercialize his discovery of Bakelite - the world's first completely synthetic plastic. Phenol and formaldehyde reacted under pressure at high
temperature in this sealed autoclave to form the thermosetting resin Bakelite. Versatile and readily molded, Bakelite found wide use in the expanding
consumer economy and opened the door to an era of synthetic materials.
Foundations of Polymer Science: Herman Mark and the Polymer Research Institute, New York, NY
The Polymer Research Institute was established in 1946 by Herman F. Mark, a pioneer in the study of giant molecules. The Institute brought together a number of polymer researchers to create the first academic facility in the United States devoted to the study and teaching of polymer science. Scientists associated with it later went on to establish polymer programs at other universities and institutions, contributing significantly to the development and growth of what has become a vital branch of chemistry, engineering, and materials science.
Havemeyer Hall at Columbia University, New York, NY
Havemeyer Hall was built between 1896 and 1898 under the leadership of Charles Frederick Chandler. It provided research and teaching facilities for faculty and students specializing in industrial, inorganic, organic, physical and biological chemistry. Pioneering research done here led to the discovery of deuterium, for which Harold Urey received the Nobel Prize in 1934. Six others who did research here subsequently received the Nobel prize, including Irving Langmuir, the first industrial chemist to be so honored, in 1932. The grand lecture hall in the center of Havemeyer remains the signature architectural feature of Charles Follen McKim's original design.
John W. Draper and the Founding of the American Chemical Society, New York, NY
On this site, 35 chemists formed the American Chemical Society, intending to stimulate original research, awaken and develop talent throughout the United States, provide fellowship, and ensure a better appreciation of the science by the general public. The Society's first president, New York University Professor John W. Draper, was noted for his pioneering work in photography and photochemistry, as well as his writings in history and education. In his inaugural address, Draper challenged his chemical colleagues to "deliver unflinchingly to others the truths that Nature has delivered to us." In the 125 years since its founding (in 1876) the Society has grown to more than 163,000 members.
Penicillin Production through Deep-tank Fermentation, New York, NY
In the early 20th century Pfizer developed innovative fermentation technology, applying it first to the mass production of citric acid. In subsequent years, under the direction of James Currie and Jasper Kane, Pfizer perfected deep-tank fermentation, as aseptic process for growing large quantities of microorganisms which require oxygen for survival. When scientists in England were unable to produce penicillin on a large scale during World War II, Kane suggested trying deep-tank fermentation. In a major feat of chemical engineering, the company rebuilt an old ice plant, which had the refrigeration machinery required for submerged fermentation, and opened the world's first large-scale penicillin facility on March 1, 1944. Pfizer manufactured other antibiotics, notably Terramycin, and vitamins using deep-tank fermentation techniques.
NMR and MRI: Applications in Chemistry and Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
On this site, in the early 1970s, Paul C. Lauterbur demonstrated that nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) could be used to generate images of macroscopic objects. In the years following, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been refined as a technique for the detailed resolution of internal structures. Lauterbur’s invention thus created a powerful diagnostic tool for the non-invasive examination of body tissue such as the brain, heart, and muscles. It allows for the early detection of cancer and other diseases. Lauterbur shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in the development of MRI. (The development of the Varian A-60, the first commercially successful NMR instrument, was designated a National Historic Chemical landmark on April 8, 2011, at Agilent Technologies in Santa Clara, California.)
Nucleic Acid and Protein Chemistry Research at Rockefeller University, New York, NY
For more than a century, scientists at Rockefeller University have enhanced our understanding of the chemical basis of life - specifically the relationship between the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins. They showed that DNA transfers genetic information, and that the sugars ribose and deoxyribose are the key building blocks of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA.
Furthermore, Rockefeller University scientists extablished that enzymes are proteins, crystallized the enzyme ribonuclease, determined the sequence of its amino acid building blocks, and then chemically synthesized it.
The ACS New York Section has had a close relationship with CHF for many years. Two members of the section currently serve on the Heritage Council of CHF.
In addition, the Section’s Archives are stored at CHF and available to researchers in the history of chemistry. There is a wealth of material and educational opportunities available to
scientists and educators at CHF, including world-class collections of chemical instruments, artifacts, Nobel laureate archives, oral histories, works of art relating to the chemical sciences,
and numerous educational conferences. CHF’s Othmer Library contains more than 100,000 volumes of primary resources in the chemical and molecular sciences.
Take a look at what the Chemical Heritage Foundation has to offer by visiting their web site at www.chemheritage.org
Meetings and social events of the committee are open to the public.
For more information, e-mail inquiries to the Chair
The Fall 2019 Events are being currently being planned.
Please check back for future updates.
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