Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

"Dr. Paul H. Emmett contributed to the literature of physical chemistry, and especially heterogeneous catalysis, during six decades. The quality, even more than the quantity, of these publications will make them cornerstones of catalysis science for decades to come....It is amazing that a person could publish such a broad spectrum of fundamental research papers in a field as multidisciplinary as heterogeneous catalysis."

Dr. Burtron H. Davis, Kentucky Center for Energy Research Laboratory, 1985

Paul Emmett Papers, 1918-2001

Portrait of Paul Emmett, ca. 1970s.
Linus Pauling and Paul Emmett, Oregon Agricultural College, 1920.
Slide rule and case belonging to Paul Emmett.
Gamma Tau Beta fraternity portraits, ca. late-1910s. Paul Emmett is located third from left on the bottom row.
The Pittsburgh Award for Outstanding Service to Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Pittsburgh Section. Presented to Paul Emmett, 1953.
Paul Emmett in the laboratory, ca. 1950s.

Information and Credits

MSS Emmett

Paul Emmett (1900-1985), a friend and colleague of Linus Pauling, graduated in 1922 from Oregon Agricultural College and completed his doctoral work on heterogeneous catalysis at Caltech in 1925. A major figure in the history of catalysis chemistry, Emmett was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1955 and worked at a handful of institutions, including The Johns Hopkins University, where he chaired the Chemical Engineering Department until his retirement in 1971. Special Collections houses Emmett's manuscripts, research notebooks, correspondence and awards.


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An Overview of the B-E-T Method.
Johns Hopkins University, December 28, 1957.

A Lifetime of Effort in Catalytic Research
by Paul Emmett. May 10, 1980. 5 pages.

Timeline for Paul Emmett

Biographical Note 

Content Description


114 linear feet; 233 boxes


The Emmett Papers are arranged into eight series. Materials in each series are organized either alphabetically, chronologically or by material type, as appropriate.

Related Papers

Emmett's contacts with Linus Pauling are further documented in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Correspondence Box 109. Emmett's undergraduate physical chemistry work at Oregon Agricultural College is likewise detailed by Emmett's instructor Fred Allen in a notebook held in the Pauling Papers Biographical section, Box 1.005.

Emmett biographer Dr. Butron Davis shared aspects of his research on Emmett's life in the video recorded talk "The Useful Science of Paul Emmett," presented April 30, 2009.

More Information