Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Gibbs, Julian H.

Julian Howard Gibbs (1924-1983), professor of chemistry, was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on June 24, 1924. He graduated from Amherst in 1947 and earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in 1949 and 1950 from Princeton. After a year of postdoctoral study at Cambridge University in England with a Fulbright Fellowship, he taught for a year at the University of Minnesota. After that he worked for eight years in research and industry at General Electric Company and American Viscose Corporation before coming to Brown in 1960 as associate professor of chemistry. He was named a full professor in 1963. He was chairman of the Chemistry Department from 1964 to 1972. In 1979 he accepted the presidency of Amherst. When Brown conferred an honorary degree upon him in 1981, the citation observed, “We feel sure that you will not lose your love for research on basic problems, especially as carried out in your floating laboratory on Narragansett Bay.” He did continue his chemical research while he was president, and in 1967 won the High Polymer Prize of the American Physical Society. He died suddenly in Springfield, Massachusetts on February 20, 1983, after being stricken while skiing.