ACS President: William A. Noyes (1857-1941)

Served as President: 1920

He worked with the nitrogen trichloride in spite of several explosions

He was always sympathetic and ready to help students in spite of other activities in which he was engaged


  • Ph. D., 1883, Johns Hopkins University, Chemistry, working under Ira Remsen

Career Highlights

  • First Chief Chemist, Bureau of Standards, 1903 - 1907
  • Department Head, Chemistry, University of Illinois, 1907 - 1926

Notable Accomplishments:

Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1902-17

First editor of Chemical Abstracts 1907-1910, Chemical Reviews 1924 - 1926, and ACS Scientific Monographs 1919 - 1941

While at Bureau of Standards, developed standard methods of analysis and standard specification for chemicals which were the basis for the Bureau’s future work including the determination of the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen in water

One of early chemists interested in the electronic theory of valence

Major Awards and Honors:

  • Nichols Medal, 1908
  • Gibbs Medal, 1920
  • Priestley Medal, 1935

Service to Science:

  • Wrote A Textbook of Chemistry, 1913
  • Work on founding of the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, precursor to Chemical and Engineering News

Did You Know

. . . that he learned the Greek alphabet while plowing corn and his sister helped him learn Latin?

. . . that he dropped out of college for the winter quarter each year to teach in country schools to earn funds for his education but graduated on time by studying at night to learn material missed in the winter quarters?

. . . that he worked very hard to promote international understanding and peace?