During his forty-year tenure at Stanford, George Sutton Parks gained a reputation as a scrupulous experimentalist, apt administrator, and kind colleague and teacher. He instructed undergraduate physical chemistry for many years. His research program generated a monumental set of highly accurate measurements of heat capacities and heats of combustion. These were partially captured in the now-classic monograph, "The Free Energies of Some Organic Compounds" (1932).
Born in 1894 in Tacoma, Washington, Professor Parks completed bachelor’s and master’s studies at the University of Washington (BS, MS). He conducted doctoral research at the University of California–Berkeley (PhD, 1919), where he developed his lifelong interest in experimental thermodynamics. After a year teaching chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, he accepted a post as instructor at Stanford in 1920. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1925, associate professor in 1930, and full professor in 1937. Professor Parks served as Stanford’s Acting Dean of Graduate Studies in 1950–51, and as Department of Chemistry Executive Head from 1951 to 1960, when he retired to emeritus status.