April 22, 1897–January 11, 1987
BY HAROLD S. JOHNSTON
OLIVER REYNOLDS WULF was a chemist, physicist, and meteorologist. He was an expert in the chemistry of ozone and the oxides of nitrogen in the laboratory and in the atmosphere; infrared spectra of molecules as related to their molecular structure; photochemistry and physics of the atmosphere; and the relation of solar activity and geomagnetism to large-scale circulation of the atmosphere. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1949.
Oliver Wulf was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on April 22, 1897. He was the son of Otto Ernest Wulf and Grace Reynolds Wulf; he had an older sister and a younger sister. His father, a businessman, co-managed the largest department store in Norwich.
The family home at 120 Laurel Hill Avenue in Norwich had a basement with a cement floor. The basement was kept quite livable by a coal-burning furnace for heating the house. His father had installed a long workbench of 2-inch-thick plank along one side of the basement, and the workbench played an important role in Oliver’s scientific development. Excited by early radio and wireless telegraphy, Oliver, in the third grade, built a 1-inch induction coil and a simple galvanometer. Noting his interest in the subject, his father