Norman Hackermanwas born in Baltimore, Md. on March 2, 1912. He received all of his college training, including graduate work, at Johns Hopkins University receiving the Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1935. Thereafter he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at Loyola College in Baltimore, later serving as research chemist for Colloid Corp. in that city. In 1941 he was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at Virginia Polytechnic Institute which he left to work on the Manhattan Project.
Dr. Hackerman joined the staff of the University of Texas in 1945. His research interests dealt principally with the chemistry and physics of surfaces. His principle area of research included corrosion, passivity, and surface chemistry in general. He became Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Department (1952-62) and Director of the Corrosion Research Laboratory at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas (1961-62). From 1962-63, he was Vice-President and Provost; 1963-1967 Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs; and President 1967-70. In 1970, Dr. Hackerman became President and Professor of Chemistry at Rice University positions he held until 1985 when he retired and became Emeritus President and Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Chemistry. He was also made Emeritus Professor of the University of Texas at Austin in 1985. He maintained an active research laboratory working with post-doctoral fellows.
Dr. Hackerman became a member of The Electrochemical Society in 1943. He served as Chairman of the Corrosion Division in 1951 and was Technical Editor of the Journal from 1950 to 1989. He was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1954 and President in 1957. He received the Palladium Medal Award of the Society in 1965 and the Edward Goodrich Acheson Medal and Prize in 1984. The Society made him an Honorary Member in 1973.
Dr. Hackerman received many other honors and awards: D.Sc. from Austin College and Texas Christian University; LLd from Abilene Christian University and St. Edwards University; D. of Public Service, University of North Texas; D. of Humane Letters, Johns Hopkins University; Whitney Award of the National Association of Corrosion Engineers; Matiello Memorial Lecture; Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists; Charles Lathrop Parsons Award of American Chemical Society; Philip Hauge Ableson Prize of AAAS; Vannevar Bush Award of National Science Board; and the National Medal of Science.
Dr. Hackerman served on many advisory committees and boards of technical societies and government agencies including the President's Scientific Advisory Committee and the National Science Foundation. He chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Robert A. Welch Foundation which supported Texas university faculty doing chemical research. Grants totaling 12-15 million dollars were based on competitive proposals.