Gilman Hall, chemistry building at the University of California, Berkeley, dedicated in 1918. Research done here has resulted in two Nobel Prizes.
The new chemistry building at the University of California, Gilman Hall, was dedicated in March 1918 as part of the university’s “Semicentenary Week.” In December 1911, Gilbert Newton Lewis, a well-established professor at MIT, had visited Berkeley and had stated his conditions for coming to head the College of Chemistry. These conditions called for an enlarged budget and increases in faculty and staff for the Department of Chemistry, then the only department in the College of Chemistry, and for an annex to be added to the old red-brick chemistry building. Lewis came to Berkeley in 1912. He supervised the enlargement of the department, and a modest annex was built for him. He also started planning for the “ultimate chemistry laboratory.” In 1917, Lewis’s building, a modern steel and concrete structure, was completed and named Gilman Hall. It was devoted exclusively to research and instruction in physical and technical chemistry.
Gilman Hall was named for Daniel Coit Gilman, president of the university from 1872 to 1875. It was designed by John Galen Howard as a two-story building with a full basement largely aboveground.
Work here by G. N. Lewis and Kenneth S. Pitzer helped advance the fields of chemical thermodynamics and molecular structure. Research performed in Gilman Hall has resulted in two Nobel Prizes: to William F. Giauque in 1949 for his studies on the behavior of substances at extremely low temperatures, and to Glenn T. Seaborg in 1951 for discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements. Four other individuals who did research here subsequently received Nobel Prizes.
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Excerpted with permission, National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program