ECS President | 1987-1988
Fritz G. Will was born in Breslau, Germany on January 12, 1931. He received his B.S. degree in Physics in 1953, his M.S., and Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1959 all from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. His thesis, under the direction of Professor C.A. Knorr, was on the “Investigation of Hydrogen and Oxygen Chemisorbed Layers on Noble Metal Electrodes with a New Non-Steady State Method”.
Dr. Will joined the research staff of the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Laboratories in Fort Belvoir, VA in 1959. He initiated an in-house fuel cell program and acted as a program manager for external contract work in this area. In 1960, he joined the research staff of the General Electric Research Laboratory where he conducted research on the mechanism of fuel cell electrodes, electrocatalysis on platinum single crystals, gas diffusion through metals, and the mechanism of the cadmium electrode. He served as a technical coordinator of the Physical Chemistry Laboratory and Manager of the Electrochemical Materials and Reactions Unit from 1969 to 1973. In 1973, he spent a half-year sabbatical at the University of Bonn, Germany doing research and giving a graduate course on solid electrolytes. In 1981, he was a consultant on battery research at Murdock University, Western Australia. Beginning in 1973, He had major technical responsibility at G.E. for programs in the area of zinc-bromine, aluminum-air batteries, and hydrogen sensors.
Dr. Will developed the potential sweep technique for the study of chemisorption layers on metal electrodes, a technique now widely used in a broad range of electrode surface studies. In 1964, he received the Research Award of the Battery Division for his papers on “Electrochemical Oxidation of Hydrogen on Partially Immersed Platinum Electrodes” important to understanding the mechanism of fuel cell electrodes. His work on solid electrolytes led to the development of the ambient temperature sodium-halogen battery. He authored over 45 publications and received several U.S. Patents. He presented numerous invited lectures at Gordon Research Conferences, ISE meetings, a NATO Conference, a ACS Convention, and Australian Electric Vehicle Conference.
Dr. Will joined The Electrochemical Society in 1960. He was a Divisional Editor of the Journal, Chairman of the Honors and Awards Committee, Chairman of the Physical Electrochemistry Division (1979-1980) and established the David C. Grahame Award during his term of office, Chairman of the Battery Research Award and Olin Palladium Award Committees, member of committees on Young Authors’ Award, Society Membership, New Technology, Technical Affairs, and Ways and Means. He organized or co-organized many ECS symposia on energy conversion and storage.
Dr. Will was elected Vice-President of the Society in 1984 and served as President for the term 1987-1988.
In other professional activities, Dr. Will served on the National Materials Advisory Board’s Committee on Battery Materials Technology in 1979-1980.