Photo of Frederick D. Rossini

Frederick D. Rossini

  • National Medal of Science
  • Physical Sciences

For contributions to basic reference knowledge in chemical thermodynamics.

During WWII, the Allied Forces were in desperate need of fuel to keep up aerial and ground operations. Research on thermodynamics and hydrocarbons became an important part of the war effort to optimize use of aviation fuel and petroleum. That research on the chemistry of petroleum and aviation fuel was bolstered by Frederick D. Rossini, a leading figure in thermodynamics.

His research focused on the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen led to the groundbreaking 1936 study Thermochemistry of the Chemical Substances, which stands as a cornerstone of high-accuracy experimental thermochemistry, examining the thermochemistry of chemical compounds. Rossini authored 265 scientific papers and 11 books, including what is known as the “bible” of chemical thermodynamics Selected Values of Chemical Thermodynamic Properties.

Rossini helped found the The Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics and is credited with major contributions to developing calorimetry, which involves measuring the heat of chemical reactions and to understanding the properties of fundamental substances.

By Christina Ayala