Dr. 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 Dr. 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.