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Photographs from the Papers of Alan G. MacDiarmid


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Alan Graham MacDiarmid was born on April 14, 1927 in Masterton, New Zealand and studied chemistry at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry in 1953. Following postdoctoral studies at Cambridge University, MacDiarmid joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and taught at the University for forty-five years. MacDiarmid is best known for his discovery and development of conductive polymers, i.e. plastic materials that conduct electricity, in collaboration with Japanese chemist Hideki Shirakawa and American physicist Alan Seeger. The discovery of conductive polymers significantly contributed to future developments in microelectronics and, in recognition of their groundbreaking work, the trio was joint recipients of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Over the course of his career, MacDiarmid was also elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences (United States) in 2002 and honored with various honorary doctorates and institutes, including the Alan MacDiarmid Institute of Innovation and Business in Brazil and the MacDiarmid Institute at Jilin University (China). MacDiarmid married Marian Mathieu, with whom he had four children, in 1954. Mathieu died in 1990 and MacDiarmid later married his second wife, Gayl Gentile, in 2005. Alan MacDiarmid died in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania on February 7, 2007.

This collection consists of photographs and personal correspondence of Alan MacDiarmid and various associates, primarily dating from the latter part of MacDiarmid's career. The majority of the photographs document MacDiarmid's professional travels and activities, including visits to China and Brazil and his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. MacDiarmid's second wife, Gayl Gentile, is present in many of the photographs and the collection also includes a few images of MacDiarmid receiving his Nobel Prize in 2000, although there are no photographs of MacDiarmid with his co-recipients, Alan Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa. Personal correspondence and accompanying photographs from various MacDiarmid acquaintances form a small subset of materials in the latter half of the collection. The correspondence of Eva Haitto, wife of Finnish violinist Heimo Haitto, are most notable among these materials, detailing Heimo's struggles with alcohol and the making of the 1985 film Da Capo about his life. In both the photographs and correspondence, this collection is an interesting 2 snapshot of MacDiarmid's global connections and the expansive reach of both his personal and professional networks.

Separated from the Papers of Alan G. MacDiarmid. Gift of Alan G. Macdiarmid, 2005.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created by Hillary S. Kativa and encoded into EAD by Melanie Grear.
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

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Collection Inventory

MacDiarmid with colleagues, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Lab photographs, 1985.
Box 1 Folder 2
Visit to Beijing, 2005.
Box 1 Folder 3
Visit to Beijing, 2005.
Box 1 Folder 4
Nobel Prize ceremony, 2000.
Box 1 Folder 5
National Academy of Sciences annual meeting, 2003.
Box 1 Folder 6
Binghamton University, 2003.
Box 1 Folder 7
MacDiarmid at Penn, 2005.
Box 1 Folder 8
Visit to Embrapa (Brazil), 2005.
Box 1 Folder 9
Correspondence—Jerzy Langer, 1997.
Box 1 Folder 10
Correspondence—Heimo and Eva Haitto, 1984.
Box 1 Folder 11
Correspondence—Heimo and Eva Haitto, 1984.
Box 1 Folder 12
Correspondence—Keiichi Kaneto, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 13
Correspondence—Dr. Joseph S. Schmuckler, 1986.
Box 1 Folder 14
Correspondence—Wiberg family, undated.
Box 1 Folder 15
Correspondence—Jerry Zuckerman, 1985.
Box 1 Folder 16

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