Chemistry & Physics

Ferguson, Lloyd N. | Electron Structures of Organic Molecules

  • First edition, first impression of the first textbook by the prominent chemist and educator Lloyd N. Ferguson (1918-2011).

    Author Lloyd N. Ferguson (1918-2011) was a distinguished chemist whose interest in science dated to his childhood, when “he bought himself a chemistry set at age 12 and did chemistry experiments in a backyard shed... He put together a moth repellent, invented a spot remover and a silver polish, and developed a lemonade mix. A budding entrepreneur, as well, he sold his inventions to his neighbours” (Spangenburg, African Americans in Science, Math and Invention, p. 80).

    Ferguson attended Berkeley for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees, and was the first African American to earn a PhD in chemistry at the university. In 1945 Ferguson joined the faculty at Howard University, where he would remain for the next two decades. “He served as department head as well from 1958 to 1965. In this capacity, he built the first doctoral program in chemistry at any Black college in the nation” (Spangenberg, p. 80). He later joined the faculty at California State University at Los Angeles, serving as chemistry department chair between 1968 and 1971.

    Ferguson’s research between the late 1940s and early 60s “included studies of the chemical propoerties of aromatic molecules... Ferguson also studied the molecular components and biochemical processes of taste—research that is valuable, as Ferguson argued in his 1958 article titled ‘the Physicochemical Aspects of the Sense of Taste,’ in gaining a fuller understanding ‘about the ways chemicals stimulate biological activity’” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 117).

    In 1965 he joined the faculty of California State University at Los Angeles, where his research focused on alicycles, which he described as offering “’ideal systems for measuring electrical and magnetic interaction between nonbonded atoms and for studying the [structural] and mechanistic aspects of organic reactions’ and as supplying ‘models for elucidating the chemistry of natural products such as steroids, alkaloids, vitamins, carbohydrates, [and] antibiotics’” (Krapp).

    Ferguson was also very active in administrative roles, including as chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Education and director of Cal State L.A.’s Minority Biomedical Research Support Program, and he was publicly recognised for his extensive work mentoring science students from under-represented backgrounds.

  • London: Constable and Company, Ltd., 1952.

    Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. H. K. Lewis and Co. bookseller’s ticket to the front pastedown. Spine rolled and a little faded, small white spot to spine and a whitish scuff to the upper board. An excellent copy, the contents fresh.