The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  516
Organization of the Chemical Laboratory

Early organization. — No need existed for divisions within the Department of Chemistry until the scope of laboratory work was expanded to include several independent fields of application. Prior to the establishment of the Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science) at East Lansing in 1855, lectures on agricultural chemistry had been offered in the Department of Chemistry. The subject has not been developed further, however, because those responsible for chemistry here felt that agricultural chemistry should be promoted entirely within the Michigan Agricultural College. Association with the Department of Medicine and Surgery was given up eventually to allow expansion of medical interests elsewhere, and of other work in the Chemistry Building. Instruction in hygiene was transferred in 1888 to the building erected for the laboratories of hygiene and physics, and the laboratory work in physiological chemistry was removed on completion of a new medical building (now called West Medical Building) in 1903. The departmental units that were left in the Chemical Laboratory Building at that time were those in chemical engineering, pure chemistry, and pharmacy. These remained together until 1923, when the work in chemical engineering was transferred from the present Chemistry Building to quarters in the East Engineering Building.

Since the Department of Chemistry has always served all schools and colleges of the University except the Law School, responsibility for teaching chemistry and for the needs of the laboratory was vested in a director of the chemical laboratory. Silas H. Douglass was the first appointee and held office from 1870 until his resignation in 1877. A successor was not appointed until 1884, when Professor Albert B. Prescott was designated Director of the Chemical Laboratory. He was responsible for both the chemical laboratory and the School of Pharmacy until the time of his death in 1905.

The laboratory of general chemistry. — During the early seventies the rapid development of industries, particularly in iron and steel metallurgy, gave rise to a demand for chemists especially trained in analyses of metallurgical and other industrial materials. The University responded by offering courses and developing research in chemical technology. The promotion of training toward professional chemistry then led to an organization of general chemistry and to the development of laboratory instruction in beginning phases of the work. In 1880 the laboratory of general chemistry was set up under an administration separate from that of analytical, applied, and organic chemistry. Ultimately, it received a status not unlike that of the "second chemical laboratory" of some European universities. Paul C. Freer became its first and only Director in 1891. Nominally, he served until his resignation in 1904, but he was away on leave of absence in the Philippine Islands from 1901 to 1904. For this period S. Lawrence Bigelow was appointed acting head of the department, and he was continued in this position until 1905, when several changes were made in the administration of units within the chemical laboratory, occasioned by the death of Professor Prescott. Physical chemistry was then administered with general chemistry under the guidance of Professor Bigelow, and the directorship of the laboratory of general chemistry was abandoned. At the same time the elementary lecture course hitherto given by Smeaton in the curriculums of the Department of Engineering was transferred to the Department of General and Physical Chemistry, Page  517which was placed on the same footing as the Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry. Between 1895 and 1900, laboratory work in physical chemistry received initial development within the Department of General Chemistry, Bigelow having been called to the University in 1898 to promote the work. This field has had rapid and wide expansion, in keeping with general trends of the period.

Later organization. — In 1905, after the death of Prescott, the School of Pharmacy and the chemical laboratory ceased to have the same administrative head, and the approach toward the establishment of a "second chemical laboratory" was given up. The chemical laboratory, minus its offshoots in the Department of Medicine and Surgery, the Department of Engineering, and the School of Pharmacy, was once more unified, and Professor Edward D. Campbell, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Analytical Chemistry, was made Director. Campbell resigned the professorship of chemiical engineering in 1914, but he retained his other positions until his death in 1925. After a brief delay Moses Gomberg, Professor of Organic Chemistry, was made Chairman of the Department of Chemistry. The directorship of the laboratory was then discontinued. There seemed no longer any need for it, since Robert J. Carney, as head of the University Chemical Storehouse, was responsible for the building and its supplies. When Gomberg reached the age for retirement, in February, 1936, Chester S. Schoepfle was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry. The affairs of the department are administered by the chairman and an executive committee selected from the teaching staff. Matters pertaining to the budget are in the hands of the chairman and of a committee comprising staff members of full professorial rank.

Professional training in chemistry in the Department of Chemical Engineering. — University recognition of professional training for chemists came first in 1884, when a curriculum leading to the degree of bachelor of science in chemistry was organized in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The degree was first conferred in 1886, the recipients being Edward D. Campbell, Louis M. Dennis, and Frederick G. Novy, but was abolished in 1896, along with the special degree in biology, except for students who had already begun the course. The last of these students graduated in 1899. In place of this course a new curriculum leading to the degree of bachelor of science in chemical engineering was set up in 1898 in the College (then called Department) of Engineering. The new course resembled the old, except for the inclusion of engineering studies. In this way arose the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering (see Part VII: Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering). Until 1909 students in this department had all their classes in chemistry and in chemical engineering in the old Chemical Laboratory Building, under men of both the engineering and the literary faculties. These classes were thereafter conducted in the present Chemistry and Pharmacy Building until 1923. By 1920 the advisability of removing this work from the chemical laboratory had become apparent. There was a need of more room in which new technological projects could be promoted, and pressure was added also by an urge to develop new courses in physical chemistry and by the crowding of regular laboratory work throughout the Department of Chemistry. The work in chemical engineering was transferred to the new East Engineering Building in 1923. At the time of this transfer there was an adjustment of Page  518ownership rights to scientific journals and reference works, for which joint subscriptions had been made by the two departments, and many volumes were removed to the East Engineering Building.

From 1898 on, the courses in chemical engineering offered the only means of training students for the profession of chemistry. But a demand arose for a training that would include more chemistry than was possible in the engineering course. This was met by re-establishing the curriculum leading to the degree of bachelor of science in chemistry in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The reinstated degree was conferred for the first time in 1916. Interest in this curriculum has not waned. A further advance in the standards of professional chemical training was made in 1919, when the Regents authorized the Graduate School to announce the degree of master of science in chemistry. To obtain this degree the candidate must have completed all requirements for the degree of bachelor of science in chemistry and also a full year of graduate training in chemistry and cognate subjects, as prescribed by the Department of Chemistry. More and more, this degree is being regarded as a step on the way to the several doctorates that represent final training for the profession.

Professional training in chemistry in the School of Pharmacy. — As early as 1860, courses in pharmacy were offered in conjunction with analytical chemistry, and in 1868 a two-year curriculum was set up, leading to the degree of pharmaceutical chemist. Within the next few years work in pharmacy was expanded so greatly that the Regents established the School of Pharmacy within the chemical laboratory as a separate department, and Albert B. Prescott was chosen its first Dean in 1876 (see Part VII: College of Pharmacy). When, in 1905, Julius O. Schlotterbeck succeeded Prescott as Dean of the School of Pharmacy, the administrative control of the school was separated permanently from that of the chemical laboratory.