Hamline News

Hamline firsts, part 3: Science innovators

Hamline graduates have always been at the forefront of new discoveries in science, technology, medicine, mathematics, and the natural world. A display in Robbins Science Center recognizes dozens of alumni throughout history to current times who have made and continue to make groundbreaking contributions in their scientific fields. From cancer research to computer-aided drug design, we feature a few of Hamline’s science heroes and their accomplishments here.

Mary B. Stark ’02
Cancer research pioneer

  • Through her research, she proved that sarcomas of fruit flies are transmitted genetically, thus suggesting that tumors can be hereditary.
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Hamline in 1938.

Robert M. Page ’27
Co-inventor of radar
Director, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

  • Awarded the Certificate of Merit in aid of the war effort by President Harry S. Truman in 1946.
  • Received the Presidential Award for Distinguished Civilian Service, the highest honor for a career employee, from President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960. 
  • Inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 1979.
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Hamline in 1943.

Deane Montgomery ’29
Math genius

  • One of the contributors to the final resolution of Hilbert’s fifth problem in the 1950s.
  • President of the American Mathematical Society from 1961–1962.
  • Coauthored Topological Transformation Groups, a “bible” of 20th-century mathematics.
  • Awarded the American Mathematical Society Leroy P. Steele Prize for lifetime achievement.
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Hamline.

Norma Johnson ’32
Library founder

  • Founded the first technical library in the Research and Development Department of Pillsbury Company in 1975.
  • Listed in Who’s Who of American Women.
  • Established the Norma Johnson Scholarship for Women in Science for Hamline students.

Carl R. N. Malmstrom ’36

  • Managed the design, construction, and launch of the first nuclear reactor into Earth’s orbit at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
  • Funded and endowed The Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics, an annual Hamline symposium on contemporary issues and research in physics held in November.

Foil A. Miller ’37
Infrared and Raman spectroscopy pioneer

  • Did significant work in the fields of infrared and Raman spectroscopy at the Mellon Institute.
  • Co-authored the books Interpretation of the Infrared and Raman Spectra (2004) and A Philatelic Ramble Through Chemistry (1988).
  • Published more than 180 scientific articles.

George S. Hanson ’40
Math, physics
Computer pioneer

  • Co-founder of Cray Research, 1971.

Dora (Holly) Kruse Hayes-Hambley ’52

  • Chief of the Chemical and Biophysical Control Laboratory (now the Livestock Insects Laboratory) at the Agricultural Environmental Quality Institute.
  • Expert in study of biological rhythms (chronobiology).
  • Among the first 100 researchers to conduct a biological experiment on a NASA space shuttle.

Richard L. Schwoebel ’53

  • Director at Sandia National Laboratories, responsible for independent assessment of the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons.
  • Founded the surface physics research program at Sandia.
  • Technical and flight director for two manned balloon flights: Kitty Hawk (the first across North America, 1981) and Double Eagle II (the first across the Atlantic ocean,1978).
  • Co-designed and patented the first successful air sampling system to sample debris from the first USSR thermonuclear weapons test.

Robert Ta-Pang Poe (Pu) ’56
Mathematics, physics
Research scientist

  • Science adviser to the U.S. Congress and to the government agencies in China.
  • Contributed to knowledge of electronatom scattering, hyperfine structure, fine structure of Rydberg atoms, photoionization, multiphoton process, and spin-parity analysis of resonances.
  • Helped establish the Synchrotron Radiation Source Facility for scientific research in China.
  • Initiated and launched the Joint Engineering Program between UCLA and the University of California, Irvine, and established the Energy Sciences Program at the University of California–Riverside. 

Roger H. Appeldorn ’57
Corporate scientist for 3M.

  • Developed the lens for the original overhead projector system.
  • Holds 35 patents.
  • Awarded Hamline’s Alumni Accomplishment Award in 1997.

Marlene A. DeLuca ’58
Bioluminescence researcher

  • Achieved the first transplant into a complex organism of the gene responsible for the biological creation of light.
  • Became the first woman ever to be honored with the Otto Mitchell Smith Lectureship Award from Oklahoma State University in 1987.

Robert Mikulak ’64
Chemical weapons negotiator

  • U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, Netherlands, 2010–2015.
  • Actively involved in the work for which the OPCW was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Senior U.S. negotiator for the 1992 international treaty banning chemical weapons and the 1989 and 1990 agreements with the Soviet Union on chemical weapons arms control.
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Hamline in 2001.

Richard P. Haugland ’65
Molecular probes expert

  • Founder of Molecular Probes, Inc., developer of fluorescent probes, which revolutionized research techniques in cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, and neuroscience.
  • Original author of the authoritative volume on molecular probes, The Molecular Probes Handbook, now in its 11th edition.
  • Author of the Handbook of Fluorescent Probes and Research Chemicals, the standard reference work on probes and techniques.
  • Owner of 44 U.S. patents.
  • Received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Hamline.

Jean M. Mukherjee ’89


Research fellow at the National Institutes of Health

  • Authored or co-authored 44 research papers on the development and use of animal models of infectious and toxin mediated diseases such as AIDS.

Marti S. Head ’91
National authority on computer-aided drug design that personalizes health management

  • Co-creator of the ATOM (Accelerating Therapeutic Opportunities for Medicines) partnership. 
  • Director, Joint Institute of Biological Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • Named inventor on four patent applications and two patents.
  • Authored or co-authored 33 scientific publications.

Jane Telleen and Terry Horstman contributed to this feature.


Hamline Firsts

Part 1: First moves