JOHN WARREN WILLIAMS

February 10, 1898-March 5, 1988

BY ROBERT L. BALDWIN AND JOHN D. FERRY

JOHN WARREN WILLIAMS had broad research interests, ranging from basic physical chemistry to the nature of the antigen-antibody reaction. Williams was one of the first to deduce molecular structure from measurements of dipole moments using theory formulated by P. J. W. Debye. He became interested in macromolecules, and, after a sabbatical year with The Svedberg, Williams established the leading American school for the development of physical methods, especially ultracentrifugation, for studying biological macromolecules. He also made important contributions to the determination of size distributions for flexible polymers. He had a strong guiding influence on the evolution of colloid chemistry to modern macromolecular chemistry. His students include well-known chemists and biochemists.

John Warren Williams was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, on February 10, 1898. His parents, both born in Portland, Maine, first met much later in Massachusetts and were married in 1896. His father, Charles Sampson Williams, graduated in chemistry from the University of Maine and had some graduate work at Harvard. His mother, née Genevieve Allen, was a graduate of Gorham Normal School in Maine and taught high school in Massachusetts before her marriage. She instilled in her children a firm respect for schol-



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