John B. Fenn Inducted Into the New Jersey Inventor’s Hall of Fame

John B. Fenn, Yale Professor (Emeritus) of Chemical Engineering (1967-1987) and Nobelist (Chemistry, 2002) has been posthumously inducted into the New Jersey Inventor's Hall of Fame. The formal ceremony took place on October 22, 2015 in the presence of his daughter Barbara (Fenn) Reif, his former Yale Ph.D. students Lillian (Tien) Labowsky and Michael Labowsky, and Yale Professor (Emeritus) of Chemical Engineering, Daniel E. Rosner. The nomination was initiated by Dr. Lillian (Tien) Labowsky, who is a New Jersey Inventor's Hall of Fame and is an award-winning teacher of chemistry and physics at Ridgwood High School. On this special occasion Lillian presented the brief account of John Fenn's career reproduced below.

John Fenn lived in Hackensack until his family "lost everything" during the Great Depression and moved to Kentucky. One of John's fondest memories of his youth was sitting in the cockpit of the Spirit of St. Louis when it was in a hangar at Teterboro after Lindbergh's historic flight. John received his BS degree from Berea College and his PhD in Chemistry from Yale University. He returned to New Jersey in the 50s to direct Project Squid, a Naval Research propulsion program and joined the Princeton faculty as Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He became world-renowned for developing free-jet (high-intensity) molecular beams at Princeton. The 1986 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry acknowledged his pioneering research on high-energy seeded beams as a key enabling contribution. By 1967 Dr. Fenn had moved his lab to the Chemical Engineering Department at Yale, where he Investigated making beams of "vaporized" proteins (and other bio-molecules) using an "electrospray". For this work, much of which done after reaching "retirement age," John received several patents, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and was ultimately awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. John passed away in 2010 at the age of 93.

Photo (left to right): David Reif, Daniel Rosner, Susan Rosner, Lillian (Tien) Labowsky, Michael Labowsky, and Barbara (Fenn) Reif.