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Charles A. Kraus papers

Biographical note

Charles August Kraus (1875-1967), professor of chemistry, was born in Knightsville, Indiana, on August 15, 1875. In 1893 he went to the University of Kansas, where he studied electrical engineering and took his only formal chemistry course in his freshman year. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1898. He did work in physics at John Hopkins in 1899-1900 and at the University of Kansas in 1900-1901, and became instructor in physics at the University of California in 1901, remaining until 1904. From 1904 to 1908 he was a research assistant in physical chemistry at M.I.T., where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1908, after which he was a research associate until 1912, and associate professor of physical chemical research from 1912 to 1914. He became professor of chemistry and director of the chemical laboratory at Clark University in 1914. During World War I, he directed research at Clark for the Chemical Warfare Service. In 1923-1924 he was a lecturer at Brown and the following year became professor of chemistry and director of the chemical laboratories. During World War II he served as consultant to the Manhattan project which developed the atomic bomb. He published more than 225 research papers on such subjects as liquid ammonia, non-aqueous solutions, electrolytic solutions, metals and their solutions, metallo-organic compounds, and conduction in glasses. He was a consulting chemist for the Chemical Warfare Service, U.S.A. and the U.S. Bureau of Mines and Fixed Nitrogen Laboratory. He was awarded the William H. Nichols Medal of the New York section of the American Chemical Society in 1924, the Theodore William Richards Medal of the Chicago section in 1935 and the Northeastern section in 1936, the Willard Gibbs Medal of the Chicago section in 1935, the Franklin Medal in 1938 and the Priestly Medal in 1950. In 1948 he was awarded the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor which the Navy can confer upon a civilian. Kraus retired in 1946. He published his last research paper in 1967, and died on June 27, 1967 in East Providence at the age of 91.