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Wetherill Lab named National Historic Chemical Landmark

PlaqueThe American Chemical Society (ACS) recognized the R. B. Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry as a National Historic Chemical Landmark on Friday, April 26, 2013.

The building has served as a center for chemical education and research in the United States for more than 80 years. Generations of chemists and chemical engineers have studied in the building under renowned faculty, including Purdue Nobel laureates Herbert C. Brown (1979) and Ei-ichi Negishi (2010).

Advances made in the building include developments in vapor-phase nitration of saturated hydrocarbons, palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, tandem mass spectrometry, and the discovery of hydroboration and its application to numerous synthetic pathways. This work has provided versatile techniques for the creation of pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, nitroparaffin-based explosives, and other products.

Named after local physician and lecturer Dr. Richard Benbridge Wetherill, the building was constructed in phases between 1928 and 1955 to accommodate a growing Department of Chemistry.

The R. B. Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry will join a list of three other ACS National Historic Chemical Landmarks in the State of Indiana. They include:

  • Percy L. Julian and Chemistry at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana dedicated in 1999.
  • Development of Baking Powder at Clabber Girl headquarters in Terre Haute, Indiana dedicated in 2007.
  • Development of Diagnostic Test Strips at Miles Laboratories in Elkhart, Indiana dedicated in 2010.

ACS is the world’s largest scientific society with more than 163,000 members, and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

Related Links:

ACS Citation (PDF)


Purdue Chemistry, Steve Scherer


Purdue Provost Tim Sands
ACS President Marinda Li Wu
Chemistry Department Head Paul Shepson


Past ACS President Tom Lane
ACS President Marinda Li Wu
Past ACS President Joe Francisco