17 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.

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Alan MacDiarmid was educated at Hutt Valley High School and Victoria University of Wellington.

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

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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.

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Alan MacDiarmid was then appointed demonstrator in the undergraduate laboratories.

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Alan MacDiarmid graduated in 1951 with first class honours, and won a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Alan MacDiarmid was appointed Blanchard Professor of Chemistry in 1988.

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

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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.

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

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

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The year after Alan MacDiarmid received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Douglas painted a portrait of his cousin for the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

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

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