Rev. Julius Arthur Nieuwland, C.S.C., Professor of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, was born in Hansbeke, Belgium, February 14, 1878.
Coming to this country in his youth, he was educated at the University of Notre Dame and at the Catholic University of America. He received the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 1904, from Catholic University, and the degree, Doctor of Science, in 1911, from the University of Notre Dame. He entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1892, and was ordained a priest at Baltimore, December 19, 1903. Father Nieuwland has been an active member of the faculty of the University of Notre Dame since 1904. He served as Dean of the College of Science from 1920 to 1923, and is at the present time, Professor of Organic Chemistry.
Father Nieuwland's scientific work has been concerned chiefly with acetylene and its derivatives. He has contributed materially to the development of this branch of chemical science. In 1904, his publication of "Some Reactions of Acetylene" attracted considerable attention in the scientific and industrial world. He discovered the compound which was developed by the Government during the war into the gas known as Lewisite. In 1906 he discovered the component parts of synthetic rubber and fourteen years later he was able to alter the composition of the gas he had first produced so as to form an oil, "divinyl acetylene," the material from which the rubber is synthesized. From this point, he continued his work with chemists of the duPont Company, and has produced a satisfactory synthetic rubber.
Father Nieuwland is a member of both the British and the American Chemical Societies, of the Deutsche Chemische Gesselschaft, and of the American Society for the Advancement of Science. He was Secretary of the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society in 1924-1925, Chairman of the same in 1925-1926. He served as Vice-President of the Indiana Academy of Science in 1929, and as President of the Academy in 1934.
In 1932, Father Nieuwland received the Morehead Medal for research in acetylene; in 1934, he was awarded the American Institute Medal, and in 1935, he received the Nichols Medal, the highest honor in the gift of the American Chemcial Society.
Mendel Medal Presentation Program, May 12, 1936. Villanova college. Villanova, Pennsylvania.