Arthur W. Adamson

Arthur Wilson Adamson (August 15, 1919 – July 22, 2003) was an American chemist who is considered a pioneer in inorganic photochemistry.[1] His research made significant contributions to the understanding of physical adsorption and contact angle phenomena, and the thermodynamics of surfaces and irreversible adsorption.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Born to American missionaries in Shanghai, China, he received his B.S. in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley in 1940 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago in 1944.


After two years as a research associate for the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, he began a career at the University of Southern California that extended through his appointment as professor emeritus in 1989. He chaired the USC Department of Chemistry from 1972 to 1975.[3]


In 1992, the ACS established the Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry.[4]

He was founding editor of Langmuir, the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids, and he was chairman of the ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry.


Books authored include:

  • Concepts of Inorganic Photochemistry, Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited, John, ISBN 0-471-00795-1
  • Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, John, ISBN 0-471-00745-5
  • A Textbook of Physical Chemistry, Cengage Learning, ISBN 0-12-044255-8
  • Understanding Physical Chemistry, Stationery Office, The, ISBN 0-8053-0128-3


  1. ^ "Arthur W. Adamson 1999 Monie A. Ferst Award". Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society. Retrieved 2009-08-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "ARTHUR WILSON ADAMSON 1919 – 2003". University of Southern California. Retrieved 2019-05-04. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Read, Dorothy (Spring 2004). "In Memoriam: Arthur W. Adamson". The News Journal. College of Chemistry UC Berkeley. Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2009-08-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Adamson Receives Monie Ferst Award" (PDF). Sigma Xi Today. The Scientific Research Society. 9 (1): 94. January–February 2000. Retrieved 2008-08-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)