Francis Owen Rice
1935 Mendel Medal Recipient
Doctor Francis Owen Rice, Professor of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, was born in Liverpool,
England, May 20, 1890. He was educated at the University of Liverpool where he received his degree of Doctor
of Science in 1916. From 1916 to the close of the World War he held important positions in His Majesty's Chemical
Plants in England. At the end of the war, Doctor Rice returned to academic life and came to Princeton University
on an 1851 Exhibition Fellowship. He was Assistant Professor of Chemistry at New York University from 1919 - 1926,
and has since been at Johns Hopkins University.
Professor Rice's scientific work lies mainly in the borderland between physical and organic chemistry. Four years ago he was the first chemist to see the implication which
experiments of Paneth on the production of free radicals would have on our understanding of reaction velocities. During the past few years his researches have led him to the
conclusion that a great many organic reactions proceed through the intermediate formation of free-radicals and he has proposed mechanisms which permit quantitative calculations of the products formed in the pyrogenic decomposition of organic compounds.
A distinguished colleague in another University says of Doctor Rice: "For two years he was voice crying in the wilderness. No one treated his ideas with seriousness.
Within the past year there has been a complete change of opinion and it is now recognized that his ideas are substantially correct, and, as a consequence, a whole chapter in
modern chemistry is of necessity to be re-examined and re-formulated in terms of his concepts."
A half-hundred research articles of Doctor Rice have been published in scientific journals here and abroad. He is the author of one of the American Chemical Society's Monographs
on the Mechanism of Homogeneous Organic reactions. His latest book "The Aliphatic Free Radicals" recently published by the Johns Hopkins Press, embodies the ideas that he has developed.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 7, 1935.
Villanova College. Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Rice, Francis Owen, professor of chemistry; born Liverpool,
England, May 20, 1890; son of James and Mary (Bryne) Rice;
B.Sc., Liverpool (England) University, 1914, M.Sc., 1912,
D.Sc., 1916; Married Katherine Kempner, May 23, 1930;
children-Monica Ellen, Cecilia Joan. Came to U.S., 1919.
Instructor in chemistry, New York University, 1919-1920,
assistant professor, 1920-1924; associate in chemistry,
Johns Hopkins University, 1924-1926, associate professor,
1926-1938; professor and head of chemistry department,
Catholic University, Washington, D.C., 1938-1959; research
professor Georgetown University, 1959, professor, chairman
of the chemistry department, 1959-1962; principal research
scientist radiation laboratory, chemistry department University
of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, from 1962. Recipient
Mendel Medal, 1935. Author: Mechanism of Organic Reactions,
1928; Aliphatic Free Radicals, 1935; Structure of Matter (with
Edward Teller), 1949. Home: South Bend, Indiana.
Who Was Who in America. Volume VIII, 1982-1985.
Chicago, Marquis Who's Who, 1985, p.337.