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Zus Haagen-Smit Oral History with Shirley K. Cohen

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2016-02-17-000086


  • Other: 2016 February 17


This interview in 2000 with Zus (Maria) Haagen-Smit, widow of Caltech biologist Arie Jan Haagen-Smit (1900-1977), describes their early education at the University of Utrecht, his work on terpenes with Leopold Ruzicka, and the cooperation between Caltech and Utrecht in studies of plant hormones. In 1936, as war loomed in Europe, Arie Haagen-Smit was invited for a year to Harvard by Kenneth Thimann; in 1937, he was invited by T. H. Morgan to join the faculty of Caltech's Biology Division, where he continued his work on terpenes and plant hormones. Recollections of Dutch group at Caltech: Frits Went, Herman Dolk, Johannes van Overbeek, and Anthonie van Harreveld. Advent of World War II; opening of butadiene plant in Los Angeles, 1943, and consequent smog problems in Los Angeles. She recalls her husband's pioneering work in analysis of smog and measures to reduce it; and his consultancies with L.A. County Air Pollution Control District, Southern California Edison Co., auto industry, and California Air Resources Board. She reads extensively from Arnold Beckman's tribute to him and the history of Los Angeles County's battle to reduce air pollution. Summarizes the awards and honors he received toward the end of his life.

Repository Details

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