Alsoph H. Corwin, Class of 1928
A native of Marietta, Ohio, 1928 Phi Beta Kappa graduate Alsoph H. Corwin went on to earn his Doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University in 1932. He started teaching at Johns Hopkins University that same year, continuing until his retirement in 1973. Corwin pursued many research interests during his tenure, one of which involved identifying the number of atoms in a molecule.
During World War II, Corwin developed chemical cures for poisonings of lead, mercury and other heavy metals. During his career spanning more than four decades, he served as an investigator for the National Defense Research Committee, as consultant to the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and as an investigator for the Office of Naval Research and the National Aeronautics Space Administration. He made significant contributions in several branches of chemistry with research leading to a clearer understanding of photosynthesis and the chemistry of chlorophyll and hemoglobin. He developed a chemical method for restoring highly-corroded copper antiquities, a process that helped decipher the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. His sense of inquiry led him to the study of food and environmental factors related to health. For this he was awarded the Jonathan Forman Medal of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
Corwin developed an approach in teaching that demanded and got the best from his students. Johns Hopkins University students honored him by endowing the Corwin Chair in Chemistry in 1989. Corwin received honorary Doctorate degrees from Marietta College in 1953 and from Johns Hopkins in 1987.