Paul Hugh Emmett

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Paul Hugh Emmett (September 22, 1900 – April 22, 1985) was an American chemical engineer.

Biography[edit]

He was born in Portland, Oregon. After completing his baccalaureate at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University), Emmett went on to the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. He was also a classmate and close friend of Linus Pauling at both institutions. In 1976, Emmett married Pauling's sister, Pauline (his third wife).

Emmett became chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at The Johns Hopkins University in 1937. In 1943 he left the university to join the staff of the Manhattan Project, where he was instrumental in developing a technique for the separation of Uranium-235 from U-238. Following a residency at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Emmett returned to Johns Hopkins in 1955, as the W. R. Grace Professor in the Chemistry Department. He was active both nationally and internationally with various chemistry committees and conferences. Emmett’s contributions include the BET theory for calculating the surface area of a material from the amount of gas it absorbs; work with ammonia and iron nitride; and many other detailed experiments. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1955.

Emmett retired from Johns Hopkins in 1971. He then became research professor in the Chemistry Department at Portland State University, undertaking new research areas such as surface area of soils and the porosity of coals, presenting seminar talks and offering advanced courses in catalysis.

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