ECS President | 1963-1964
Walter J. Hamer was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on November 5, 1907. After receiving his undergraduate training at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., he attended Yale University graduate school and obtained his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1932. In 1966 he was awarded an honorary D.S. from Juniata College at the dedication of its new Science Center. He returned to Yale for two years as a U.S. Navy post doctorate Research Fellow. In July 1934, he accepted a position as research associate in physical chemistry at M.I.T., which he held until November 1935 when he joined the staff of the National Bureau of Standards.
Dr. Hamer conducted research on electrolytes, fused salts, primary and secondary batteries, and on standard cells. He published many papers on his research including a series on lead-acid storage batteries, one on dry cells, and another on pH standards. One of his major responsibilities at the National Bureau of standards, was the maintenance of the nation’s primary standard of electromotive force.
During World War II, Dr. Hamer worked as an electrochemist first for the Office of Scientific Research and Development and then the Manhattan Project. He served as battery consultant to the Defense Department from 1952 to 1954 and was a member and officer of subcommittees on batteries of the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and American Standards Association. He served on many other important national and international committees. He was a member of many technical societies having to due with electrochemistry and physical chemistry.
Dr. Hamer joined The Electrochemical Society in 1937. He Became Chairman of the Theoretical (now Physical Electrochemistry) Division in 1951-1953 and served on many of its committees. He was a member of the Battery Division Executive Board in 1954-1956. In 1951, he organized and contributed to the bicentennial issue of the Journal devoted to the Theoretical Division; and he conducted a number of Society symposia. He was Editor of the Society Monograph on “The Structure of Electrolytic Solutions” published in 1959. He served on many Society standing committees. He was elected and served as Society Vice-President 1960-1963 and President 1963-1964. In 1980, Dr. Hamer was elected Honorary Member of the Society and in 1991 received the Robert T. Foley Award of the National Capital Area Section of the Society.