The Info List - Oliver Wolcott Gibbs

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Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (February 21, 1822 – December 9, 1908) was an American chemist. He is known for performing the first electrogravimetric analyses, namely the reductions of copper and nickel ions to their respective metals.[1][2]


1 Biography 2 Commemorations 3 References 4 Further reading 5 External links

Biography[edit] Oliver Wolcott Gibbs was born in New York City
New York City
in 1822 to George and Laura Gibbs. His father, Colonel George Gibbs, was an ardent mineralogist; the mineral gibbsite was named after him, and his collection was finally bought by Yale College. Oliver was the younger brother of George Gibbs and older brother to Alfred Gibbs, who became a Union Army
Union Army
Brigadier General during the American Civil War.[3] Alfred Gibbs
Alfred Gibbs
son, John Blair Gibbs, was the Acting Assistant Surgeon killed in the Battle of Guantánamo Bay[4] during the Spanish–American War. Entering Columbia College (now Columbia University) in 1837, Wolcott (he dropped the name "Oliver" at an early date) graduated in 1841. Having assisted Robert Hare at University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
for several months, he next entered the Columbia University
Columbia University
College of Physicians and Surgeons, qualifying as a doctor of medicine in 1845. Leaving the United States
United States
(US), Gibbs studied in Germany, considered a center of science, with Karl Friedrich August Rammelsberg, Heinrich Rose, and Justus von Liebig, and in Paris with Auguste Laurent, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, and Henri Victor Regnault. He returned to the US in 1848 and that year became professor of chemistry at the Free Academy, now the City College of New York. Gibbs was a candidate for Professor of Physical Science at Columbia in 1854, but his application was rejected because he was a Unitarian.[5] Gibbs became the Rumford professor at Harvard University
Harvard University
in 1863, a post he held until his retirement in 1887 as professor emeritus. After retirement, he moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where he worked for about a decade in his own private laboratory. Gibbs's research was mainly in analytical and inorganic chemistry, especially the cobalt-amines, platinum metals, and complex acids. He published a number of articles related to spectroscopy and the measurement of wavelengths. Gibbs was said to have been an excellent teacher, who also published many articles in scientific journals.[6] Gibbs was also the founder of The Union League
Union League
Club in New York City. In 1862 he proposed to fellow Sanitary Commission Executive Committee member Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted
that a patriotic club be formed in New York City and in January 1863 formally proposed the same to leading men in New York City, resulting in the formation of The Union League Club in February 1863. Commemorations[edit]

National Academy of Sciences, President (also a founding member), 1895-1900. American Association for the Advancement of Science, President, 1897. Gibbs has been honored by the naming of features in and near Yosemite National Park. Mt. Gibbs stands 3,893 metres (12,773 ft) above sea level. Gibbs Lake is located at 2,905 m (9,530 ft) above sea level in the canyon northeast of the peak. Gibbs Lake is formed by Gibbs Creek, originating in the upper reaches of Gibbs Canyon, and drains into Lee Vining Canyon. Gibbs is one of the few scientists recognized in the United States Capitol in Washington DC. A small statue of him is on the Amateis bronze doors.[7] The Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory,[8] a chemistry research building, was constructed by Harvard University
Harvard University
on its campus in 1911-1913 (demolished 2001-2002). This four-story free-standing building had a footprint of 71 feet by 41 feet. Prof. William Lipscomb did much of his Nobel prizewinning research on boron chemistry in Gibbs Lab,[9] continuing work started at the University of Minnesota.


^ Gibbs, W. (1864). "On the electrolytic precipitation of copper and nickel as a method of analysis". Zeitschrift für Analytische Chemie. 3: 334.  ^ Gibbs, W. (1865). "On the electrolytic precipitation of copper and nickel as a method of analysis". American Journal of Science. 39: 64–65.  ^ Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7. P. 172. ^ http://www.spanamwar.com/1stmarinesgibbs.htm ^ "The Wolcott Gibbs Affair at Columbia, 1854". Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-03-06.  ^ Clarke, Frank Wigglesworth (1909). " Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Lecture". Journal of the Chemical Society. 95: 1299–1312. doi:10.1039/ct9099501299.  ^ United States. Architect of the Capitol (1978). Art in the United States Capitol. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. pp. 350–351. OCLC 2181271.  ^ The Wolcott Gibbs Memorial Laboratory by Prof. T.W. Richards.  Harvard alumni bulletin, Harvard Alumni Association, Associated Harvard Clubs. 15, 1, Sept. 25, 1912, pp. 424-429 ^ "William N. Lipscomb".  by István Hargittai, Candid Science III, More Conversations with Famous Chemists (pp. 19-27).


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Further reading[edit]

Clarke, F. W. (February 1910). "Biographical Memoir of Wolcott Gibbs" (PDF). VII. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences: 3–22.  Loeb, Morris (1913). "Oliver Wolcott Gibbs". In Richards, T. W. The Scientific Work of Morris Loeb. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 108–117.  Morley, Edward W. (1910). "Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, 1822–1908". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. American Philosophical Society. 49: xix – xxxi. ISBN 978-1-4223-7261-6.  Smith, Edgar Fahs (1914). Chemistry
in America. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 264–272.  Szabadvary, Ferenc (1964). " Wolcott Gibbs and the Centenary of Electrogravimetry". Journal of Chemical Education. 41 (12): 666–667. doi:10.1021/ed041p666.  Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964. ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.

External links[edit]

Grave of Gibbs Portrait of Oliver Wolcott Gibbs from the Lick Observatory Records Digital Archive, UC Santa Cruz Library's Digital Collections "Columbia College--The Election of a Professor of Chemistry". New York Times. April 24, 1854. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 

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Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences

Alexander Bache (1863) Joseph Henry
Joseph Henry
(1868) William Rogers (1879) Othniel Marsh (1883) Wolcott Gibbs (1895) Alexander Agassiz
Alexander Agassiz
(1901) Ira Remsen (1907) William H. Welch
William H. Welch
(1913) Charles Walcott (1917) Albert A. Michelson
Albert A. Michelson
(1923) Thomas Morgan (1927) William Campbell (1931) Frank Lillie (1935) Frank B. Jewett
Frank B. Jewett
(1939) Alfred Richards (1947) Detlev Bronk
Detlev Bronk
(1950) Frederick Seitz
Frederick Seitz
(1962) Philip Handler (1969) Frank Press
Frank Press
(1981) Bruce Alberts
Bruce Alberts
(1993) Ralph J. Cicerone
Ralph J. Cicerone
(2005) Marcia McNutt (2016)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 74003415 LCCN: n88222504 ISNI: 0000 0000 6655 2386 GND: 116616601 SUDOC: 035555491 BNF: cb13484351m (da