Gifted physical chemist, chemical engineer and educator with a lively interest in art and literature, Pierre Van Rysselberghe was recruited to the Stanford faculty by then Executive Head R. E. Swain. Professor Van Rysselberghe’s research focused in electrochemistry and the thermodynamics of non-reversible processes. He helped to found, and became the first president of, the International Society of Electrochemistry.
Professor Van Rysselberghe was born Brussels, Belgium, in 1905. He completed master’s studies in engineering at the University of Brussels before coming to Stanford to perform his doctoral work in chemistry with J.W. McBain (PhD 1930). He stayed on as instructor in 1929, becoming assistant professor in 1931. In 1941 he moved to the University of Oregon, where he rose to associate and full professor, and mentored their chemistry department’s first six doctoral graduates. Professor Van Rysselberghe returned to Stanford, and remained from 1956 until 1970.