The death of Professor Theodore William Richards of the Department of Science yesterday noon terminated a magnificent career in the course of which the acme of scientific endeavor was attained. Furthermore, it has inflicted such a blow upon the University as renders more eulogy superfluous. For Professor Richards had not only earned for himself a niche in the University temple of Fame, but was generally recognized as the foremost authority in the world in the field of atomic weights.
He was preeminently the type of scholar which has done the most to raise the academic standards of Harvard to their present high national and international rank. While his crowning honor came with the Noble prize for special achievement in chemistry in 1914, he had previously, in 1901, received a flattering invitation from the Prussian government which indirectly was a compliment to Harvard and the scientific advances of American universities in general. In declining the offer then made him of a full professorship of inorganic chemistry at the University of Gottingen, Professor Richards revealed an appreciation of and a loyalty to Harvard which, as Dean Hanford points out, he has always manifested during the many years he has been affiliated with it.
Professor Richards, it can truly be said, gave his life to the advance of science. His revolutionary discoveries were only the reward of the Herculean efforts which he did not spare himself. Among the more important monuments of his labours, and one by no means of the least significant to Harvard, is the chemistry laboratory rising on Oxford Street, in which he took a great interest. Inasmuch as his example served as an inspiration to his followers in the field of science, nothing could be more fitting than for a memorial to be placed within the walls of the new building in commemoration of the magnitude of his scientific achievements.