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William F. Giauque

William F. GiauqueAKA William Francis Giauque

Born: 12-May-1895
Birthplace: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Died: 28-Mar-1982
Location of death: Berkeley, CA
Cause of death: Accident - Fall

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Adiabatic demagnetization

Cryogenics chemist William F. Giauque was one of the first scientists to research extreme low-temperature phenomena, and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1949. After high school he worked for two years for a chemical company, before deciding to pursue chemistry as a career and enrolling at the University of California at Berkeley. There he spent the next sixty-six years, uninterrupted by sabbaticals or visiting professorships elsewhere, from his arrival as a student in 1916 to the offer of a faculty position before graduation until his death as professor emeritus in 1982.

Working with Herrick L. Johnston (1898-1965) in 1929, he discovered the second and third isotopes of oxygen (mass 17 and 18). In 1926 he proposed an apparatus using adiabatic demagnetization to achieve temperatures near absolute zero, and by 1933 he had constructed a working machine and became the first scientist to achieve temperatures colder than -458 Fahrenheit (within about one and a half degrees of absolute zero). He never smoked, drank alcoholic beverages, or learned to drive an automobile.

Father: William Tecumseh Sherman Giauque (cabinet maker, d. 1908)
Mother: Isabella Jane Duncan (seamstress)
Wife: Muriel Frances Ashley (chemist, m. 19-Jul-1932, d. 28-Jul-1981, two sons)
Son: William Francis Ashley Giauque
Son: Robert David Ashley Giauque

    High School: Niagara Falls Collegiate Institute, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (1914)
    University: BS, University of California at Berkeley (1920)
    University: PhD Chemistry and Physics, University of California at Berkeley (1922)
    Teacher: Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1922-34)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1934-82)

    Occidental Petroleum Hooker Electro-Chemical Company, 1914-16
    Chandler Medal 1936
    Elliott Cresson Medal 1937
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1949
    Willard Gibbs Medal 1951
    Gilbert Newton Lewis Medal 1956
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society 1940
    American Physical Society
    American Chemical Society
    American Physical Society
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    National Academy of Sciences 1936
    American Ancestry Paternal
    Canadian Ancestry Maternal
    Risk Factors: Arthritis

Author of books:
Low Temperature, Chemical, and Magneto Thermodynamics (1969, collected papers)


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