Reed McNeil Izatt papers

Reed McNeil Izatt papers

Dates: 1954-2006

This collection includes papers of Reed McNeil Izatt from 1954 to 2006. Papers include a festschrift as well as academic publications.

  • Extent: 2 cartons (2 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Izatt, Reed McNeil, 1926
  • Call Number: UA 5519
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; University Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84606;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Reed McNeil Izatt papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: UA 5519; Reed McNeil Izatt papers; University Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: UA 5519, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Reed McNeil Izatt in September 2009. Donated by Reed McNeil Izatt in June 2010.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Reed McNeil Izatt; September 2009. Donated; Reed McNeil Izatt; June 2010.
Related Material
Reed McNeil Izatt research papers (MSS 6245).
Subject Terms
Colleges and Universities; Education
Genre / Form
Processing Information
Processed; Kayla Quinney; July 2009. Processed; Kayla Quinney; June 2010.
Appraisal Information
Part of University Archives; Personal papers of faculty which relate directly to a university department. (University Archives collecting policy July 2003).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Izatt (Reed McNeil) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Kayla Quinney
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2010-10-08T11:53-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Reed McNeil Izatt (1926-) is a chemist. He has received numerous awards for mentoring, research, and discovery. He was also a founder of IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc.

Reed McNeil Izatt was born in Logan, Utah, on October 10, 1926, the son of Alexander Spowart Izatt and Marian McNeil. His parents were descendants of pioneers who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Scotland and emigrated to Utah in the 1860s. Reed's early years were spent on a ranch owned by his father in Sumpter Valley, Oregon, near Baker City. Here, in the mountains of eastern Oregon and under clear, star-studded skies, he developed what has been a life-long interest in geology and astronomy. Through the 6th grade, he attended a two-room school in Sumpter Valley. Grades 1-6 were taught in one room and grades 7-12 in the other.

His parents moved to Logan, Utah, in the late 1930s. During his teen years in Logan, he came under the influence of a number of professors at the Utah State Agricultural College, now Utah State University (USU). Association with these individuals and guidance from them were of great importance in his decision to enter the University in 1944 and major in chemistry. Graduation from USU was delayed by 1 year of service in the U.S. Army and two years spent as a missionary for the Mormon Church in Scotland.

Following graduation from USU (1951), Reed entered the Pennsylvania State College (now The Pennsylvania State University). His Ph.D. degree work was under the direction of Professor W. Conard Fernelius, one of the pioneers of coordination chemistry in the United States during the mid-20th century. Graduation from Penn (1954) was followed by a two-year postdoctoral position at Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (now part of Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Penn. He taught freshman chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh on a part time basis while at Mellon Institute.

His academic career at Brigham Young University (BYU) began with his appointment as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in 1956. During his career at BYU, over 50 students received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees under his direction. Over 100 undergraduate students have worked in his laboratory, where most of them were involved in carrying out original research projects geared to their ability at their individual stages of development in chemistry. A significant contribution during this period was the effort made by Professor Izatt to involve these undergraduate students in all aspects of chemical research including laboratory work, data analysis, manuscript preparation, and presentation of the results at national and regional meetings.

More than 500 publications including peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and books have resulted from his work with students, faculty associates, postdoctoral associates, and visiting professional associates. In addition, he is coauthor of 20 U.S. patents and many foreign ones involving chemical separations.

His scientific work has spanned nearly half a century. The early prime focus was on the use of precision calorimetry to investigate interesting chemical problems in coordintaion chemistry. An early success was the determination of the heat of ionization of water at conditions approaching infinite dilution. This value was uncertain in the early 1960s because of disagreement between temperature variation and direct calorimetric (at high ionic strengths) studies. Using thermistors, Professor Izatt and his associates obtained this quantity at low ionic strength values. Their results were confirmed by many others in succeeding years. He and his colleagues demonstrated that calorimetric titration studies could give equilibrium constants and hears of reaction from a single titration curve. The technique is used routinely today for measurements of K. Definitive calorimetric determinations were made in his laboratory for a variety of reactions including metal complex formation and proton ionization.

Some of the first measurements of thermodynamic quantities for metal ion—macrocycle interactions were done in his laboratory. These investigations demonstrated the remarkable cation selectivities possessed by macrocycles. Studies involving macrocycle—cation interaction expanded to include X-ray crystallographic determinations and selective transport studies across various types of liquid membranes. The latter work led to the development and use of supported host macrocyclic ligands for the selective separation of similar guest species. This accomplishment resulted in the formation of a small chemical company, IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. (IBC), which develops supported ligands designed to accomplish specific separations and markets them worldwide.

Professor Izatt is one of the three founders of IBC. The other two are Professor James J. Christensen, who died in 1987, and Professor Jerald S. Bradshaw. Professor Bradshaw has collaborated with Professor Izatt for nearly 30 years in the design and synthesis of the novel macrocycles used in their research program. A significant contribution to the field of macrocycles used in their research program. A significant contribution to the field of macrocylic chemistry by his group has been the publication of a series of "Chem. Rev." papers. For the past two decades Professor Izatt with Dr. Christensen until his death and Dr. John L. Oscarson has investigated heats of mixing and chemical reactions at temperatures ranging to 370 degrees C.

In 1977, Dr. Christensen and Dr. Izatt inaugurated in Provo a meeting of macrocylic chemists that has since become an annual symposium on macrocyclic Chemistry. In 2000, the 24th symposium in the series was held in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Reed has received numerous awards and recognitions. These include the following: Annual Sigma Xi Lecturer at BYU, April 1966; Karl G. Measer Research and Creative Arts Award, BYU, 1967; NIH Career Development Award, 1967-72; Annual Faculty Lecture, BYU, 1970; Utah Award, American Chemical Society, 1971; Association for the Advancements of Science, 1982; Gardner Prize, Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, 1983; Utah Governor's Medal for Science, 1990; American Chemical Society Award in Separations Science and Technology, 1996.

Professor Izatt was married to Helen Marie Felix for 49 years until her death in 1998. They have six children, 19 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He married Virginia Bills Christensen, widow of James J. Christensen, in 1998 and acquired 5 stepchildren and 11 step-grandchildren.

His interests include travel, history, reading (especially historical novels and biographies), pets, concerts, and plays, and church activities.

(from Reed McNeill Izatt festschrift)

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Cory Nimer
University Archivist - University Archives