Henry Aaron Hill (Chemist)

Henry Aaron Hill was an American fluorocarbon chemist who became the first African American president of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936, before completing a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1942. The title of his dissertation is “Test of Van’t Hoff’s Principle of Optical Superposition.”

After receiving his Ph.D., Hill joined Atlantic Research Associates in Newtonville, Massachusetts, as a research chemist. He became research director there and became vice president in 1944. Hill was a civilian employee of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in 1944. In 1946, Hill moved to Dewey & Almy Chemical Co. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a research group leader. In 1952, he became assistant manager and co-founder of National Polychemicals, Inc., of Wilmington, Massachusetts. Hill founded Riverside Laboratory in 1961 for research, development, and consulting.

Hill’s research focused on chemical intermediates for the production of polymer products.