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A letter from an alumnus about the James Forrestal campus

October 20, 2002

I have read J. I Merritt's '66 excellent history Princeton's James Forrestal Campus: Fifty Years of Sponsored Research. (Notebook)

I wish to add a few sentences to the history. Princeton's chemical engineering department is not mentioned in the history.

This is the history of the chemical engineering department's presence at Forrestal, according to my experience there:

When the Forrestal Research Campus opened to Princeton University in September 1951, the Department of Chemical Engineering opened one or more laboratories at the chemical sciences building there.

There, Professor Richard H. Wilhelm led research sponsored by the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Leon Lapidus got his start at Princeton then as an associate in research working with Professor Wilhelm at the Chemical Sciences Building at Forrestal.

I worked with Leon Lapidus as an assistant in research. I came to Princeton and Forrestal in September 1951 and I left both in January 1956. I received a Princeton degree in June 1956 as a result of my work at Forrestal and of classes taken on the Princeton campus.

Both Lapidus and Wilhelm later became chairmen of Princeton's chemical engineering department, and they both became heralded as outstanding scholars in the chemical engineering community at large.

I may have been the only chemical engineering student to receive a Princeton degree as a result of having engaged in research at Forrestal.

Arthur L. Thomas *56
Greenwich, Conn.

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