Frederick Otto Koenig’s clear and elegantly formed contributions to thermodynamics are said to have been well-matched with a lifelong appreciation of natural beauty and frequent travels to see remarkable art, architecture and landscapes. After retiring from his 37-year Stanford tenure, he returned to teach a yearlong course in his next passion after thermodynamics, science history.
Professor Koenig was born in New York City in 1902, and completed undergraduate studies at Harvard University (AB). His doctoral research with electrochemist Kasimir Fajans at the University of Munich (PhD 1929) produced a now-classic publication on the electrocapillary curve in the "Handbuch der Physik." Professor Koenig came to Stanford University as instructor in 1931, earning promotions to assistant professor in 1936, associate professor in 1938, and full professor in 1943. He taught general and physical chemistry, and graduate-level thermodynamics, while continuing a research program that garnered two Guggenheim Fellowships. He became emeritus in 1968.