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Baldeschwieler, John Dickson (Chemist, Chemical Engineer)



  • Existence: 1933


Background: Caltech Professor of Chemistry, 1973-1999; Chairman, Caltech Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, 1973-1978. Professor Emeritus, 1999.
Biographical/Historical Description: Born in New Jersey to a Swiss-German father and Canadian mother, John Baldeschwieler received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Cornell in 1956 and his PhD from Berkeley in 1959 with a thesis on infrared spectroscopy. After six months of active duty with the U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (1959), he took a professorial position at Harvard, then transferred to Stanford in 1965 where he worked on ion cyclotron resonance spectroscopy. Involvement with defense issues led him to government advisory positions, first with the army and later on the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC). From 1970 to 1972 he served as deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology. He developed an interest in cancer research and began consulting with Monsanto and Merck. In 1973 he was invited to become chairman of Caltech's Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division. At Caltech his entrepreneurial career accelerated with his involvement with biotechnology start-up companies--ten in all.
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral History, 2001. This 146-page oral history consists of 6 sessions recorded with Shirley K. Cohen. It recounts his early life, his academic career, his government service, and his successes as an entrepreneur in biotechnology.

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

Airtalk: The Caltech Edition

Identifier: 1988-00080

Interview with John D. Baldeschwieler, 2001-01-10 - 2001-02-22

Scope and Contents Interview in six sessions in January and February 2001 with John D. Baldeschwieler, J. Stanley Johnson Professor and professor of chemistry, emeritus, in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Dr. Baldeschwieler received his bachelor's in chemical engineering from Cornell in 1956 and his PhD in 1959 from UC Berkeley. He begins by recalling his childhood and early education in Cranford, N.J. His father, an analytical chemist, emigrated from Switzerland and his mother from Manitoba....
Dates: 2001-01-10 - 2001-02-22