John Chipman

April 25, 1897 - May 14, 1983

Election Year: 1955
Scientific Discipline: Applied Physical Sciences
Membership Type: Member

John Chipman first emerged as a metallurgical pioneer when he was a research engineer at the University of Michigan from 1929 to 1935.  During this time, Chipman studied the chemical reactions involved in the production of steel to determine the cause of non-metallic inclusions in steel.  He began applying concepts of physical chemistry to steel production techniques, and from 1932 to 1933, he provided the first rational view of the deoxidizing powers that various compounds added to steel.  This research was vital for the refinement of steel, and his published papers on the subject were presented to the American Society for Metals in 1934; he was awarded the Henry Marvin Howe Medal for writing the best paper of the year.  Chipman returned to his teaching career in 1937 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he became the Head of the Department of Metallurgy in 1946 (and maintained the position until his retirement in 1962).  It was during his time at MIT that Chipman made his other major contribution to metallurgy.  During World War II, he served as the chief of the Metallurgy Section of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago as part of the Manhattan Project.  Chipman’s crucial role for the famous project was the creation of solid castings from powdered uranium.  This technique ensured researchers a reliable supply of castings during a time when solid uranium was scarce. 

Chipman attended the University of the South in Tennessee and earned his B.S. degree in 1920.  He received his M.S. degree from the State University of Iowa in 1922 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California in 1926.  He taught thermodynamics, quantitative analysis, and physical chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology for three years before he went to conduct research at the University of Michigan.  Chipman was a member of several scientific organizations, such as the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Metals, and the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (AIME).  He was the recipient of the Hunt Award from AIME in 1939, and for his application of physical chemistry theories to the process of steel production, he was awarded the Clamer Medal of the Franklin Institute in 1951.  

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