19 Facts About Alan MacDiarmid


Alan MacDiarmid's family was relatively poor, and the Great Depression made life difficult in Masterton, due to which his family shifted to Lower Hutt, a few miles from Wellington, New Zealand.


In 1943, MacDiarmid passed the University of New Zealand's University Entrance Exam and its Medical Preliminary Exam.


Alan MacDiarmid then took up a part-time job as a "lab boy" or janitor at Victoria University of Wellington during his studies for a BSc degree, which he completed in 1947.


Alan MacDiarmid was then appointed demonstrator in the undergraduate laboratories.


Alan MacDiarmid then won a Shell Graduate Scholarship, which enabled him to go to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he completed a second PhD in 1955.


Alan MacDiarmid worked in the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews in Scotland for a year as a member of the junior faculty.


Alan MacDiarmid then took a faculty position in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, where he became a full professor in 1964.


Alan MacDiarmid spent the greater part of his career on the chemistry faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked for 45 years.


Alan MacDiarmid was appointed Blanchard Professor of Chemistry in 1988.


In 2002 Alan MacDiarmid joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Dallas.


Alan MacDiarmid collaborated with the Japanese chemist Hideki Shirakawa and the American physicist Alan Heeger in this research and published the first results in 1977.


Alan MacDiarmid travelled around the world for speaking engagements that impressed upon listeners the value of globalising the effort of innovation in the 21st century.


In one of his last courses, in 2001, Alan MacDiarmid elected to lead a small seminar of incoming freshmen about his research activities.


Towards the end of his life, Alan MacDiarmid was ill with myelodysplastic syndrome.


Alan MacDiarmid is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill.


Alan MacDiarmid is survived by four children: Heather McConnell, Dawn Hazelett, Duncan MacDiarmid and Gail Williams, from their marriage and nine grandchildren: Dr Sean McConnell, Dr Ryan McConnell, Rebecca McConnell, Dr Clayton Hazelett, Wesley Hazelett, Langston MacDiarmid, Aubree Williams, Austin Williams and George Williams.


Alan MacDiarmid was survived by his second wife, Gayl Gentile, whom he married in 2005; she died in 2014.


The year after Alan MacDiarmid received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Douglas painted a portrait Archived 11 November 2021 at the Wayback Machine of his cousin for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.


Alan MacDiarmid was active as a naturist and nudist, and considered himself a sun-worshipper and keen waterskier.