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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 14 Issue 3 (2009) pp 118-129

Dwaine O. Cowan (1935–2006): The Father of Organic Conductors and Superconductors

George B. Kauffman

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published online: 6 June 2009

Abstract. Dwaine O. Cowan, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University, who designed, synthesized, and characterized the first “organic metals,” died on May 5, 2006 in Clovis, California after a long illness. One of the dominant, world-renowned figures in physical organic chemistry for more than three decades, he was considered the father of “organic conductors and superconductors,” a burgeoning new area of interdisciplinary science. His life and work and its possible applications are discussed in this article.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; physical organic chemistry; organic conductors and superconductors; organic metals; physics; materials science; chemical education; mechanistic organic photochemistry; electron transfer reactions; organometallic compounds; synthetic metals; photoelectron spectroscopy; mixed valence compounds; selenium and tellurium compounds; ferrocene

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: June 6, 2009

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