Gutowsky, Herbert Sander (1919-) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Gutowsky, Herbert Sander (1919-)

Historical Note:

Herbert Sander Gutowsky (1919-2000) was instructor (1948-51); assistant professor (1951-55); associate professor (1955-56); professor of physical chemistry (1956-); head of the Division of Physical Chemistry (1956-62); head of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (1967-70); founding director of the School of Chemical Sciences (1970-83); fellow in chemistry at the Center for Advanced Studies (1983-2000); and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He had a distinguished career as an educator and administrator but is best known for his pioneering work as a researcher in the field of chemistry. He was the first to use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in chemical research, establishing NMR as an analytical tool for studies of the molecular structure in solids, liquids, and gases.

Gutowsky was born in Bridgman, Michigan, on November 8, 1919, and also grew up in Hammond, Indiana. He earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University (1940) and served in the US military for four years during WWII. He continued his education at the University of California, Berkley, earning a master's degree in 1946 and a PhD from Harvard University in physical chemistry in 1949. In 1948, Gutowsky joined the faculty at UIUC, where he remained for his entire career, serving in a variety of teaching, research and administrative positions. His groundbreaking research involving NMR spectroscopy "had a monumental effect on virtually all scientific investigations requiring the analysis of molecular structure," including chemical and biochemical research (Dept. of Chemistry). His achievements over the course of his career have been recognized by membership/fellowship with the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and more. Awards include the American Chemical Society (ACS) Irving Langmuir Award (1966), ACS Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry (1975), the National Medal of Science (1977), and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1983). His pivotal 1951 paper, "Coupling Among Nuclear Magnetic Dipoles in Molecules," was recognized posthumously with a Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award by the ACS in 2016.

Gutowsky was married to Barbara Stuart in 1949, and together they had three sons. He married Virginia Warner in 1982. He died on January 13, 2000, in Urbana, Illinois.


"Gutowsky, Herbert S. (1919-2000)," Department of Chemistry (UIUC), accessed May 13, 2020,

James E. Kloeppel, "Chemist Herbert S. Gutowsky, pioneer of MRI, dies at 80," January 19, 2000, accessed May 13, 2020,

Wikipedia, s.v., "Herbet S. Gutowsky," accessed May 13, 2020,

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