Click for next page ( 433


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 432
4

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS January 20, 1871August 4, 1940 BY JOHN D. ROBERTS JAMES FLACK NORRIS was born in Baltimore, Maryland, Janu- ary 20, 1871. He was the fifth of nine children, having two brothers and two sisters older than himself. He therefore had early opportunity to learn the art of getting along with people. His father was a Methodist minister, a popular revivalist, and a forceful orator in the pulpit. The future chemist used to ac- company his father to camp meetings, where it was his custom during the sermon to rest, perhaps to doze, on a bench behind the pulpit, out of sight of the audience, and then later to stand beside his father and lead the singing. He received his elemen- tary education in the schools of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a boy he collected stamps, but the pastime grew weari- some and he exchanged the collection for a printing press. This supplied means for the exercise of a more synthetic ingenuity, and for two years he published a monthly literary newspaper for which he wrote the articles and made the woodcuts himself. Norris received the A.B. degree from Johns Hopkins in 1892, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and remained at the univer- sity for graduate work. He was Fellow in Chemistry, 1894-1895, The bull; of this memoir was compiled from an article by Professor Tenney . Davis, a colleague of James Flack Norris at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which vitas published in Incl ustrial and Engineering Chemistry, 14:325-26 (1936). The present author has edited and extended this material to bring it more into the usual format of the Memoirs. 413

OCR for page 432
414 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS and received the Ph.D. degree in 1895. At Hopkins he was a member of the "Tramp Club," whose members were initiated by being taken for a walk of twenty-five miles, and of the "House of Commons," a debating society in which his classmate, New- ton D. Baker, was especially active and articulate. Norris was strongly attracted by Professor Ira Remsen and for three years' running attended his lectures on organic chemistry and on the history of chemistry. For his doctor's thesis, Remsen set him to work on complex compounds of selenium and tellurium. The lure of organic chemistry was strong, however, and the investigation evolved into a study of the double salts of selenium dichloride and tetrachioride with the aliphatic amines and thence into a study of the perbromides and periodides of ali- phatic amines, especially tertiary amines, in connection with which the interesting observation was made that the amine hydrobromides form perbromides by taking on a single atom of bromine. At the opening of the academic year in the fall of 1895 the new Ph.D. joined the staff of the chemistry department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With him came Henry Fay, also a Hopkins 1895 Ph.D. The two were close friends; they went to the opera together and to parties at the homes of President Walker and of various professors. Their appearance and manners caused them to be envied by the younger members of the staff as models of what the man-about-town ought to be. The debonair Norris soon became known widely as "Sunny Jim." Norris remained at MIT until 1904, when he took on the duties of the first professor of chemistry at Simmons College, a newly organized college for women that was at the time just opening in Boston. Here he outfitted the laboratories, organized courses in chemistry, and had general supervision of all instruc- tion in science. He stayed at Simmons until 1915 except for a year of sabbatical leave. In 1915-1916 he was at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, then in the war, and back again to

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS 415 MIT, where he became professor of organic chemistry and director of the Research Laboratory of Organic Chemistry after its organization in 1926. He also gave courses at Harvard, Radcliffe, Clark, and Bowdoin. From Bowdoin he received the honorary Sc.D. in 1929. During his first period at MIT he gave, among other courses, one in the history of chemistry, having caught the contagion of that subject from Remsen. He also taught advanced organic and inorganic chemistry, quali- tative analysis, physical chemistry, food analysisin fact, chem- istry of all sorts except quantitative analysis. Norris's sabbatical leave from Simmons was during the academic year 1910-1911. Feeling the need for more physical chemistry, he went to Karlsruhe, in Germany, where he worked in the laboratory of Haber. Working there at that time were a number of chemists who later became well known, including Allemand, Robinson, Carter, and Askenasy. Norris wrote his textbooks in North Bridgton on Long Lake, Maine, during the summers of his period at Simmons. They were written with- out the assistance of reference books, except tables of physical constants, for the author believed that nothing ought to be included in the general texts that a chemist does not remember because he finds it useful. At North Bridgton, Professor Norris worked in a cabin among the trees, apart from the dwelling house, where he had his study, a carpenter shop, a darkroom, and a laboratory. Here, with no reagents except those he could buy at the country grocery store and with no apparatus except a thermometer, a graduate, and a horn-pan balance, he contrived a number of experiments that are included in his inorganic laboratory manual. He also experimented with photography and devised a means of simultaneously developing and fixing the negative in a single bath. Others had the same idea, and chemicals for this purpose were put on the market shortly afterward by Lumiere . in ~ rance. Professor Norris was an associate member of the Naval Con-

OCR for page 432
416 suiting Board in 1916. In 1917-1918 he was in charge of chem- ical research on agents of offense and war gas investigations of the U.S. Bureau of Mines. He entered the Army as Lieutenant Colonel in the Chemical Warfare Service. In 1918 he was in charge of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in England and in 1919 of the investigation of the manufacture of war gases in German chemical plants. After the war he served ten years as vice chairman and chairman (1924-1925) of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the National Research Council and as a member of the Executive Board of the Council. He was president of the American Chemical Society for two years, 1925 and 1926, during which time he did much to im- prove and clarify the finances of the Society. He was vice president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry from 1925 to 1928. He was made an honorary mem- ber of the Rumanian Chemical Society, had lunch with Queen Marie, and brought home a box of cigarettes, marked with the royal monogram, from each of which he secured enjoyment and satisfaction. He was also an honorary member of the Royal Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain. The American Institute of Chemists gave him its gold medal in 1937 for "outstanding service as a teacher and as an investi- gator." Norris was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1934. He was chairman of Section C (chemistry) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1930. A fitting tribute to his memory has been the James Flack Norris Award of the Northeastern Section of the American BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS Chemical Society. The award originally recognized outstanding teaching in chemistry, but more recently has been for research in physical organic chemistry. Although Norris was serious when occasion demanded it, profoundly interested in his work, and dignified to a degree' he was "Jimmie" to a host of friends who found him a gay com-

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS 417 panion when there was no work at hand and the cheerful member of many an informal group. He was married in Wash- ington, D.C., February 4, 1902, to Anne Bent, daughter of Lowell Augustus Chamberlin, Captain, U.S. Army; they had no children. James Flack Norris died in Cambridge, Massa- chusetts, on August 4, 1940. The scientific work of James Flack Norris, insofar as may be judged by his seventy-odd scientific papers, was broadly inter- esting and important, but hardly had the impact of the work of some of his contemporaries in America, such as Gomberg, Stieglitz, and Nef, because he sometimes reached the wrong con- clusions. Thus, at almost the beginning of his MIT career, Norris became engaged in, and lost, rather a vitriolic argument with Gomberg about the nature of triphenylmethyl. Norris held that Gomberg's analytical data were incorrect and that the "unsaturated hydrocarbon" formed from triphenylchlorometh- ane and zinc in benzene was formed with loss of hydrogen chloride. He believed the correct structure to be (C6H,) C_ C6H4, but did not specify just how the "phenylene" part of the molecule was arranged, although he clearly recognized that it was likely to react easily with oxygen. After continuation of some work on selenium and tellurium, begun with Remsen, Norris became rather generally concerned with some of the preparations and reactions of relatively simple compounds such as those that made up the backbone of the syn- thetic aliphatic chemistry of the time. Thus, he and his students investigated the conversions of alcohols to halides and the re- actions of these halides with hydrocarbons by Friedel-Crafts catalysts to build up more complex substances. As a result of these studies, in which it must have become clear to him that there were large differences in reactivity associated with rather similar substances in the same preparative reaction, he published in 1925 the first of what was to be a twenty-paper series on "the reactivity of atoms and groups in

OCR for page 432
418 organic compounds." Much, but not all, of this work was con- cerned with the rates of the reaction of alcohols with acyl halides. These studies began before the mechanisms of any of the reactions involved were known and, necessarily, wound up providing only empirical correlations. The correlations were useful nonetheless for planning synthetic work and for pointing to striking differences in behavior that would ultimately require explanation. An example of the latter was the discovery of a 2,800-fold greater reactivity of 4,4'-dimethyldiphenylchloro- methane relative to 4,4'-dichlorodiphenylchloromethane toward ethyl alcohol in a reaction that is rather well, but still not per- fectly, understood forty-five years later. This program involved two of the best-known Ph.D. students Norris hadA. A. Ash- down (who later became the storied master of MIT's graduate student house) and, three years subsequently, A. A. Morton (discoverer of the elfin polymerization catalyst and many inter- esting metalation reactions). The research on reactivity was extended gradually to include thermal decompositions of ma- lonic acids, and certain parallels were noted between the effect of R as an or substituent in influencing the carboxylation of malonic acid and the effect of R in ROH in changing reactivity toward p-nitrobenzoyl chloride. Norris was rather less successful in his work on reactivity than was his younger counterpart at Harvard, James B. Conant, who displayed an almost unerring instinct for choosing reactions for study of greater simplicity and involving wider ranges of reactivity, along with an excellent feel for the basic physical chemistry involved. Nonetheless, Norris had the prescience to be at the forefront of the still-developing area of making compari-- sons of organic reactivity under controlled conditions, and some of the reactions he was first to study are among the most im- portant in preparative chemistry. BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS BIBLIOGRAPHY KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS Aim. Chem. i. =.American Chemical Journal Ind. Eng. Chem. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry I. Am. Chem. Soc. = {ournal of the American Chemical Society I. Ind. Eng. Chem.journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Org. Syn. = Organic Syntheses 1896 419 With I. Remsen. The action of the halogens on the methylamines. Am. Chem. I., 18: 90. With H. Fay. Iodometric determination of selenious and selenic acids. Am. Chem. l., 18:703. 1898 With E. H. Laws, F. M. Smalley, and A. E. Kimberley. The action of the halogens on the aliphatic amines and the preparation of their perhalides. With H. Fay. 20:278. Some double salts containing selenium. Am. Chem. l., 20:51. Iodometric estimation- of tellurium. 1899 With A. I. Franklin. Am. Chem. J., Am. Chem. l., 20:490. The composition of nitrogen iodide and the action of iodine on the fatty amines. 1900 - c7 - Am. Chem. J., 21:499. With H. Fay and 1). W. Edgerly. lurium. Am. Chem. l., 23:105. With H. Fay. The reduction of selenium dioxide by sodium thio- sulphate. Am. Chem. l., 23:119. With R. Mommers. On the isomorphism of selenium and tellu- rium. Am. Chem. l., 23:486. 1901 The preparation of pure tel- With W. W. Sanders. On triphenylchlormethane. Am. Chem. J., 25:54. On the nonexistence of trivalent carbon. Am. Chem. l., 25:117.

OCR for page 432
420 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS With E. H. Green. Some new derivatives of secondary butyl al- cohol. Am. Chem. J., 26:293. With B. R. Rickards. Reduction of secondary butyl alcohol, etc. Am. Chem. i., 26:303, 305, 307. With H. G. Johnson. 26:308. With W. A. Kingman. Am. Chem. i., 26:318. With E. H. Green. Condensation of carbon tetrachloride with halogen derivatives of benzene by means of the Friedel and Crafts reaction. Am. Chem. l., 26:492. With G. MacLeod. On the preparation of triphenylmethane. Am. Secondary butyl bromide. Am. Chem. I., Isomorphism of selenates and tellurates. Chem. J., 26:499. 1903 With B. G. MacIntire and W. M. Corse. The decomposition of diazonium salts with phenols. Am. Chem. l., 29: 120. With L. R. Culver. The action of zinc on triphenylchlormethane. Am. Chem. i., 29:129. With D. R. Franklin. The action of zinc on benzoyl chloride. Am. Chem. i., 29:141. The action of zinc on triphenylchlormethane. 29:609. With W. C. Twieg. The condensation of carbon tetrachloride with chlorbenzene by means of the Friedel and Crafts reaction. Am. Chem. J., 30:392. II. Am. Chem. J., 1906 On the elementary nature and atomic weight of tellurium. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 28:1675-84. 1907 On the base-forming property of carbon. Am. Chem. l., 38:627. 1910 With R. Thomas and B. M. Brown. Action of metals on ketone chlorides of the aromatic series and properties of compounds of the type R2CClCClR2. Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 43: 2940-59.

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS 1915 Experimental Organic Chemistry. Co. Inc. ' 1916 421 New York, McGraw-Hill Book Organic molecular compounds. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 38:702-11. With M. Watt and R. Thomas. Reaction between alcohols and aqueous solutions of hydrochloric and hydrobromic acids. l. Am.Chem.Soc., 38:1071-79. 1919 Manufacture of war gases in Germany. l. Ind. Eng. Chem., 11:817- 29. 1920 With D. M. Tibbets. Organic molecular compounds. II. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 42:2085-92. With R. S. Mulliken. Reaction between alcohols and aqueous solutions of hydrochloric and hydrobromic acids. II. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 42:2093-98. With H. B. Couch. Condensation of benzoyl chloride with ethylene in the presence of aluminum chloride. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 42:2329-32. 1921 A Textbook of Inorganic Chemistry for College. Graw-Hill Book Co., Inc. 1922 New York, Mc- The Principles of Organic Chemistry. 2d ed. New York, McGraw- Hill Book Co., Inc. 1923 With K. L. Mark. Laboratory Exercises in Inorganic Chemistry. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc. 1924 New catalytic effects of zinc chloride and aluminum chloride. Ind. Eng. Chem., 16:184.

OCR for page 432
422 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS With H. B. Taylor. Preparation of alkyl chlorides. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 46:753-57. With R. C. Young. Preparation of triphenylmethane and the action of heat on the ethers and esters derived from triphenyl- carbinol. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 46:2580-83. Experimental Organic Chemistry. 2d ed. New York, McGraw- Hill Book Co., Inc. 1925 With A. A. Ashdown. The reactivity of atoms and groups in or- ganic compounds. I. The relative reactivities of the hydroxyl- hydrogen atoms in certain alcohols. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 47:837- 46. With E. O. Cummings. Electrolytic preparation of p-phenylene- diamine, aminosalicylic acid, succinic acid and hydrocinnamic acid. Ind. Eng. Chem., 17:305-7. Roger Frederic Brunel (biography). Butyl chloride. Org. Syn., 5:27-29. 1927 Science, 61 :407-8. With i. M. ioubert. Polymerization of the amylenes. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 49: 873-86. With R. Renter. Rearrangement of isopropylethylene to trimethyl- ene and the pyrogenic decomposition of 2-pentene and tri- methylene. i. Am. Chem. Soc., 49:2624-40. With F. Cortese. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. II. Second contribution on the relative reactivities of the hydroxyl-hydrogen atoms in certain alcohols. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 49: 2640-50. The chemical reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. Zeitschrift fur Physikalische Chemie, 130:662-72. 2-Pentene. Org. Syn., 7:76-77. 1928 With A. A. Morton. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. III. First contribution on the carbon-chlorine bond: The rate of the reaction between diphenylchloromethane and ethyl alcohol. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 50: 1795-1803.

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS With C. Banta 423 t. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic com- pounds. IV. The rates of reactions of certain derivatives of diphenylchloromethane with ethyl alcohol and with isopropyl alcohol. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 50:1804-8. With i. T. Blake. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. V. The rates of the reactions of certain derivatives of diphenylchloromethane with ethyl alcohol. Soc., 50:1808-12. With D. V. Gregory. I. Am. Chem. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. VI. The rates of the reactions of benzoyl chloride and certain of its derivatives with isopropyl alcohol. i. Am. Chem. Soc., 50:1813-16. With S. W. Prentiss. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. VII. The influence of certain solvents on reaction velocity-adj uvance. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 50:3042~8. With A. W. Olmsted. tert-Butyl chloride. Org. Syn., 8:50-51. American contemporariesArthur D. Little. Ind. Eng. Chem., 20: 1395-96. 1929 With H. S. Davis. Production of alcohols from the butenes and pentenes through interaction with sulfuric acid. Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry, 48:70. With W. S. Johnson, H. D. Hirsch, and C. R. McCullough. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. VIII. The relative reactivities of the hydroxyl groups in certain al- cohols. Recueil des Travaux Chimiques des Pays-gas, 48:885- 89. 1930 With R. C. Young. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. X. The measurement of the relative lability of bonds by means of rates of reactions and of temperatures of de- composition. I. The hydrogen-oxygen bond in certain alcohols. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 52:753-61. With R. C. Young. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XI. The influence of the structure of the substi- tuent on the temperature of decomposition of certain derivatives of malonic acid. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 52:4066-69.

OCR for page 432
424 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS 1931 With G. Thomson. Significant temperatures in the pyrolysis of certain pentanes and pentenes. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 53:3108-15. 1932 With G. W. Rigby. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XII. Preparation and properties of mixed aliphatic ethers with special reference to those containing the tert-butyl radical. T. Am. Chem. Soc., 54:2088-2100. Significance of pyrolysis temperatures. Journal of Chemical Edu- cation, 9: 1890-96. 1933 With H. F. Tucker. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XIV. Influence of substituents on the thermal stability of certain derivatives of malonic acid. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 55:4697-704. With A. Cresswell. Rates of the thermal decomposition of certain triphenylmethyl alkyl ethers. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 55:4946-51. 1935 With W. H. Strain. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XV. The relative reactivities of the hydrogen of the hydroxyl group in benzoic acid and certain of its derivatives. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 57:187-92. With E. V. Fasce and C. J. Stand. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XVI. The relative effects of sub- stituents on the rates at which certain acyl and alkyl chlorides react with ethyl alcohol. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 57:1415-20. With H. H. Young, Jr. The reactivity of atoms and groups in or- ganic compounds. XVII. The effect of the change in reactant and of the temperature on the relative reactivities of certain substitution products of benzoyl chloride. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 57: 1420-24. With E. C. Haines. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XlIIII. The effect of the solvent on the rate of the reaction between benzoyl chloride and ethyl alcohol. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 57:1425-27.

OCR for page 432
JAMES FLACK NORRIS 425 1938 With I. N. Ingraham. Condensation of aliphatic alcohols with aromatic hydrocarbons. I. The preparation of mesitylene and sym-triethylbenzene. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 60:1421-23. 1939 With D. Rubinstein. Formation of intermediate compounds in hydrocarbon syntheses by the Friedel and Crafts reaction and the preparation of certain symmetrical trialkylbenzenes. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 61:1163-70. With B. M. Sturgis. Condensation of alcohols, ethers and esters with aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of aluminum chlo- ride. i. Am. Chem. Soc., 61:1413-17. With V. W. Ware. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XIX. The relative reactivities of the chlorine atoms in certain derivatives of benzoyl chloride. i. Am. Chem. Soc., 61: 1418-20. With H. S. Turner. Rearrangement of certain derivatives of toluene by the action of aluminum chloride. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 61:2128-31. With G. T. Vaala. Rearrangement of the xylenes by aluminum chloride. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 61 :2131-34. With K. L. Mark. Laboratory Exercises in Inorganic Chemistry. 2d ed. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc. 1940 With P. Arthur, in Condensation of esters with aromatic hydro- carbons by means of aluminum chloride. I. Am. Chem. Soc., 62: 874-77. With A. E. Bearse. The reactivity of atoms and groups in organic compounds. XX. The effect of substituents on the relative re- activities of the hydroxyl group in derivatives of benzoic acid. i. Am. Chem. Soc., 62:953-56. With J. N. Ingraham. Certain trialkylated benzenes and their com- pounds with aluminum chloride and with aluminum bromide. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 62:1298-1301. With i. E. Wood III. Intermediate complexes in the Friedel and Crafts reaction. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 62: 1428-32.

OCR for page 432
426 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS With A. l. Klemka. Preparation of nitrites and amides. Reactions of esters with acids and with aluminum chloride. The use of the salt NaC1 A1C13 in the Friedel and Crafts reaction. l. Am. Chem. Soc., 62:1432-35.

OCR for page 432