ACS President: Alexander Smith (1865-1922)

Served as President: 1911

His ideas of chemical education were quite unusual for their time and included the thought that instead of solely receiving lecture students should begin by acquiring the ability to state simple ideas correctly…the conclusions would not be new but going through the operation of reaching them for themselves would be new to the student


  • Ph. D., 1889, University of Munich, Organic Chemistry

Career Highlights:

  • Professor of Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1894 – 1911
  • Head of Chemistry Department, Columbia University, 1911 - 1919

Notable Accomplishments:

Studied ketones and their condensation reactions; determined several physical constants of sulfur

Author of textbooks that were very popular in the United States, Great Britain and other foreign countries

Major Awards and Honors:

  • Elected to National Academy of Sciences, 1915
  • Honorary L.L.D., University of Edinburgh, 1919

Service to Science:

Did you know

. . . that when he realized his promotion would be very slow in Scotland he visited America hoping for an appointment?

. . . that for his ACS presidential address he chose to speak on the history of chemistry?