Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Chemistry History

Noyes lab centennial celebration

On September 13 and 14, 2002, a celebration was held in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of Noyes Laboratory. Over 200 alumni and friends of the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Chemical Engineering participated in the weekend's events.

The celebration included Noyes Lab being designated as a National Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society, the unveiling of the "Roster of Noyes Lab" recognizing all students who have recieved degrees in the three departments since 1902, and talks about the history of the chemical sciences at Illinois given by Nelson Leonard, Rudy Marcus, former Shell CEO Steve Miller, and historian Sharon McGrayne

Noyes Laboratory History Overview

The west half of Noyes Laboratory, built in 1901-1902, resembled the letter “E” in shape. Its dimensions were 230 feet along the front and 116 feet along the wings. This original part of Noyes Laboratory contained 77,884 square feet of usable space and cost slightly less than the $100,000 the Illinois legislature appropriated. The east half of Noyes Laboratory was completed in 1915-1916; it gave the entire building the shape of a hollow square, 231 feet by 202 feet, with 164,280 square feet of working space. The east wing added 86,396 square feet of additional space and cost $250,000, about two and one-half times the cost of the original building.

Event Speeches

Nelson Leonard "Signal to Noyes: The Voices I Still Hear"

Sharon Bertsch McGrayne "Noyes Laboratory, An ACS National Chemical Landmark: 100 Years of Chemistry at the University of Illinois"
(reprinted with permission of the History of Chemistry Division, ACS)

Alumni Reminiscences