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Philip J. Elving (1913-1984)

Philip J. Elving was born in Brooklyn, NY, on March 14, 1913.  He received his BA, MA, and PhD degrees from Princeton University in 1934, 1935 and 1937, respectively.  Following his graduate studies, he taught chemistry at the Pennsylvania State University and Purdue University.  From 1943-1949 he also directed chemical research projects for Publicker Industries, Inc.  In 1952, he joined the University of Michigan as Professor of Chemistry and in 1981 was named the Hobart Willard Professor of Chemistry.

During his long and illustrious career at Michigan, Professor Elving contributed both as a teacher and internationally renowned researcher.  He was the principal force behind the teaching of analytical chemistry at Michigan for more than 30 years.  In addition to analytical courses, Professor Elving developed courses covering the literature and history of chemistry.  His precise and eloquent lecture style always drew praise from his pupils.


As a research scholar, Professor Elving published nearly 300 original papers in the area of electroanalytical chemistry.  His mechanistic work on the electrochemistry of biological purines and pyrimidines paved the way for the development of new electrochemical methods for detecting these important species.


In addition to his distinguished research accomplishments, Professor Elving was perhaps best known for his editorial work.  He was co-editor of the 33-volume “Treatise on Analytical Chemistry” now in its second edition, and the very popular “Chemical Analysis” series, a collection of nearly 60 monographs covering contemporary analytical chemistry and its applications.


During his career, Professor Elving received many well deserved honors, including the Anachem Award by the Detroit Section of the American Chemical Society (1957), the Fisher Award by the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (1960), the Medaille de Honneur by the Universite de Liege (1965), and the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award by the University of Michigan (1977).