Henry Gilman was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 9, 1893. He received
his B. S. (1915), an M. S. (1916), and a Ph.D. (1918) in Chemistry from
Harvard University. For his pre-doctoral work he studied in Europe at Zurich
Polytechnikum, the Sorbonne in Paris, and at Oxford in London.
Dr. Gilman began his career at the University of Illinois as an Instructor of
Chemistry in 1919. Later that year, he accepted the position of Assistant
Professor (1919 - 1920) at Iowa State College (University). He became an
Associate Professor in 1920 and by 1923 Dr. Gilman had been promoted to full
Professor where he taught all the Organic Chemistry courses at Iowa State
College. While at Iowa State, Dr. Gilman developed the modest Chemistry
Department into one of the finest in the United States, with visionary research
into Organometallic Chemistry.
His main area of research was in the Organometallic Chemistry area of Grignard
reagents where he developed numerous Organometallic reagents, building a
reputation for Iowa State as pioneering in the field.
His research interests also included heterocycles, polynuclear hydrocarbons,
antimalarials, as well as long-chain aliphatic compounds. During World War II,
Dr. Gilman was a consultant on the Manhattan Project for the atomic bomb. He set
the groundwork for the growing interests of organometallics among chemical
industries after the war, setting the stage for further development in the areas
of plastics and Organosilicon. He has written over 750 research publications and
authored a four volume text entitled; Organic Chemistry, along with co editing
the text Organic Synthesis.
In addition to his work, Dr. Gilman was an Associate Editor of Chemical Reviews
and the Journal of American Chemical Society. He was on the advisory or
editorial boards for the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, the Advances on
Organometallic Chemistry, Science Citation Index, Chimica Inorganica Acta, and
the Organometallic Reactions.
He gave numerous lectures including the First International Symposium on
Organometallic Chemistry in 1963. Since then, he spoke at International
Symposiums on Organosilicon Chemistry in Prague, Heidelberg, Rome and Paris. He
lectured in the countries of West Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia The
Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Romania.
Despite glaucoma and retinal detachment in 1947 that left him blind in one eye
and with limited vision in the other, Dr. Gilman went on to receive countless
awards and distinctions. In 1945 he was elected into the National Academy of
Sciences being the first Iowa State man to do so. During 1951 he received the
Midwest Gold Medal from the American Chemical Society from both the St. Louis
and Iowa sections. He was elected as an honorary fellow of the British Chemical
Society in 1961, and in 1962 he was the first recipient of the American Chemical
Society's Kipping Award. During that same year he was named distinguished
professor at Iowa State University.
Dr. Gilman received one of the first Distinguished Fellow Awards from the Iowa
Academy of Sciences (1975) and was an elected foreign member of the Royal
Society of London (1975). In 1977 he received the highest honor in Chemistry
when he was awarded the Priestly Medal from the American Chemical Society, along
with being named an honorary life member of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Iowa Governor Robert Ray presented him with one of the first Governor's Science
Medals in 1982.
Dr. Gilman with the help of hired graduate students or his wife Ruth gained a
reputation as the father of Organometallic Chemistry and his work is the most
often cited among scientists.
Through out his life Dr. Gilman continued his research until he died November 7,
1986 at the age of 93. He was interred at the Iowa State Cemetery on November