News of the College February 2004

Marsh Cronyn tries to put hydrogen in its place

table of elements pictureAfter retirement, former vice president provost and professor emeritus of chemistry, Marshall Cronyn ’40 continues to write articles in his field. For example, he recently wrote that “hydrogen is clearly no more metallic than mashed potatoes” and describes an imaginary caged proton as “the Cowardly Lion of Oz.”

The August edition of the Journal of Chemical Education published an article by Cronyn titled “The Proper Place for Hydrogen in the Periodic Table.”

He writes, “So there is poor hydrogen, denied a chemical family to call its own, thrust like an unwanted orphan into a foster home where its chemistry cannot even be discussed in the same breath with the alkali metals where it now resides. How could this be so? For in the beginning, of both time and the periodic table, there was hydrogen.”

Cronyn received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1944, then spent 1946–1952 at the University of California–Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow and later as an assistant professor. He taught at Reed as an associate professor of chemistry beginning in 1952, and later spent seven years as provost. Author of a number of research publications, abstracts, and reviews, he has served on the organic chemistry curriculum committee of the American Chemical Society and spent a year as a National Institutes of Health special research fellow at Cambridge, England.

In response to the question “Where does a nonmetal act like a metal,” Cronyn writes: “In the general neighborhood of a neutron star (20). End of Article

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Reed Magazine February 2004 2004
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