William J. Hale was a highly influential chemist in academia and industry.  He helped found the Organic Chemistry Laboratory and a research library at The Dow Chemical Company, published multiple chemistry textbooks and articles, taught at the University of Michigan, and helped found the Midland Section of the American Society. 

Dr. Hale is still known many decades after his death as one of the first proponents of chemurgy, the use of chemistry to benefit agriculture and industry.  While not the first to research ways to use agricultural surplus through chemistry, that honor is arguably reserved for Dr. Washington Carver, he was the first to use the term itself.  Dr. Hale collaborated with other researchers and influential figures such as Henry Ford to popularize this new field. Today, agriculture relies on chemistry to keep food safe, increase yields, and resist pests and disease. 

“I reasoned that if we could get our chemists assembled from time to time to hear an outside speaker we might stir up keener interest in life and encourage argumentative discourse. Within a few months we had organized a group of some 20 or more chemists into what was called the Midland Section of the American Chemical Society.”

William J. Hale

Permeswaran, Palani. “Chemurgy: Using Science Innovatively to Save American Agriculture from Overproduction.” History Teacher, vol. 44, no. 1, Nov. 2010, pp. 95–125. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=508192964&site=ehost-live.

Click the link below to read the article on Hale on the Midland ACS main website: