Norman Lichtin

Professor Norman Lichtin

Professor Norman Lichtin

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry
Emeritus University Professor, Boston University
Physical Organic Chemistry

Norman Lichtin joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry in 1948 and retired 45 years later in 1993.  He was promoted to full professor in 1961 and assumed the Chair in 1973, continuing in that role until 1984.   His research interests include electrolyte chemistry in liquid sulfur dioxide, radiation chemistry of organic and bioorganic systems, chemistry of “active” nitrogen, physical photochemistry, photochemical concersion and storage of solar energy, photo-assisted heterogeneous catalysis, and the photocatalytic detoxification of air and water.  He consulted with such companies as Exxon’s Solar Energy Conversion Unit; the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital’s Nuclear Medicine unit; Synlize, Inc.; Project Sunrize, Inc.; ClearFlow, Inc.; Photox Corporation; and NanoTek, Inc.  He was research adviser to more than 60 undergraduate and graduate students, including 16 M.A., 27 Ph.D., and 28 Postdoctoral Research Associates.

History of the Chemistry Department

Prof. Lichtin has written the only known history of the  Department of Chemistry, which was established in 1904 and is BU’s oldest natural science department.  His review covered the period between 1904 and 1973.   Written in the days before word processing, we have created a pdf of the scanned document, which you are welcome to download.  Prof. Lichtin also cordially invites anyone interested, to “take up the gauntlet” and continue the history, describing the Department’s growth and evolution to the leading research and educational enterprise it is today.

History Of Boston University Chemistry: 1904 – 1973


  • B.S. with Distinction in Chemistry, Antioch College, 1944
  • M.S. in Chemistry, with a minor in Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, 1945
  • Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry, Harvard University, 1948


  • Associate Editor for Photochemistry of Solar Energy, the archival publication of the International Solar Energy Society, 1976-1994