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Richard E. Marsh Oral History Interview with Shirley Cohen

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2017-08-17-000003


  • 1997



An interview on November 7, 1997, with crystallographer Richard E. Marsh, senior research associate, emeritus, in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Dr. Marsh received his BS in chemistry from Caltech in 1943 and his PhD from UCLA in 1950. He came to Caltech that year as a research fellow, to work under Linus Pauling. He continued in crystallographic research at Caltech for the remainder of his career. In this interview he discusses his father’s stint as a speechwriter for Franklin D. Roosevelt; the family’s move to Redlands, California; his undergraduate years at Caltech; and his subsequent naval service (1943-1946). He recalls his year of postwar graduate work at Tulane, where he studied crystallography with Rose C. L. Mooney, and his transfer to UCLA for his PhD with James McCullough. Recollections of postdoc with Linus Pauling, working with David Shoemaker, Edward W. Hughes, Jerry Donohue, Verner Schomaker, Robert B. Corey. Pauling and Corey’s paper on possible DNA structure; “overblown” competition with James Watson and Francis Crick. His work with Corey on small-molecule biological crystallography. Lavish government funding of sciences after the war. Pauling’s profligate hiring. Remarks on his work, which continued in his emeritus status. Remarks on undergraduate life at Caltech in the early forties: Officer “Fig” Newton; intramural tackle football.

Repository Details

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