Mary L. Good

Mary Lowe Good
Born (1931-06-20) June 20, 1931
Grapevine, Texas
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Louisiana State University;
AlliedSignal Research and Technology Laboratory;
U.S. Department of Commerce
Alma mater University of Central Arkansas (B.S.)
University of Arkansas (M.S., Ph.D)
Notable awards Garvan–Olin Medal (1973)
IRI Medal (1991)
Vannevar Bush Award (2004)

Mary Lowe Good (born June 20, 1931)[1] is an inorganic chemist who has worked academically, in industrial research and in government. Dr. Good has contributed to the understanding of catalysts such as ruthenium which activate or speed up chemical reactions.[2] She has held high-level positions in the academic, industrial, and government sectors, where she has been a strong proponent of science, science education, and women in science.[3] She has received a number of significant awards including the Garvan–Olin Medal, the Othmer Gold Medal, the Priestley Medal, and the Vannevar Bush Award.[4]

Early life and education

External video
Mary Lowe Good, "You’ve got to take the opportunities as they appear", Chemical Heritage Foundation

Mary Lowe was born in Grapevine, Texas to Winnie and John Lowe. The family moved to Kirby, Arkansas in 1942. Her father was a principal in a local school,[1] and her mother was a teacher and librarian.[2] The family later moved to Willisville, Arkansas, where Mary attended high school.[1] Lowe initially attended Arkansas State Teacher's College (now the University of Central Arkansas) with the intention of being a home economics teacher. She became interested in chemistry as a freshman and changed her major to chemistry and physics, receiving her B.Sc. from the University of Central Arkansas in 1950.

Her professors encouraged her to go to graduate school. She received a fellowship, which enabled her to study radiochemistry with Raymond R. Edwards at the University of Arkansas. At age 19, as an atomic energy research assistant, she received her first Q-level government clearance.[1] In 1952, she married Bill Jewel Good, a fellow graduate student in physics.[2] Mary Lowe Good received her MS in 1953 and her PhD in 1955 from the University of Arkansas.[1][5] Her graduate work involved studying radioactive iodine in aqueous solutions (used for treating thyroid conditions). She worked on processes of solvent extraction of metal complexes and described the chemical and physical properties of chemical species in an organic solvent.[6] She was able to explain why solutions of radioactive iodine were unstable, and determine the concentration at which species would be at equilibrium values, by applying the Nernst equation effect.[1]

Louisiana State University System

Dr. Good spent 25 years in teaching and research at Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans, which was at the time part of the Louisiana State University System.[4] Good went to Baton Rouge as director of the radiochemistry laboratory and as an instructor and assistant professor of chemistry (1954-1958). At Baton Rouge she worked on iodine and sulfur chemistry with Sean McGlynn.[1]

In 1958 Good and her husband moved to New Orleans when both were offered positions at a new campus that was being established.[1] The Louisiana State University New Orleans (LSUNO) was the first university in the southern states to open as a fully integrated institution.[7] Expanding on her work in radiochemistry, Good became interested in using spectroscopy to study inorganic chemistry compounds, taking measurements and relating experimental results to theoretical predictions. She was able to study molecular bonding in both solutions and solid states.[1][6] She also was able to extract rhodium complexes, using organic solvents, and demonstrate that they were bimetallic.[1]

Good moved up the academic ranks to become the Boyd Professor of Chemistry at New Orleans (1974-1978),[1] the first woman to achieve the university's most distinguished rank.[8] From 1978-1980, she returned to Baton Rouge to develop a new program as the Boyd Professor of Materials Science, Division of Engineering Research.[1]

Good was one of the first people to use Mössbauer spectroscopy techniques for basic chemical research.[6] Mössbauer spectroscopy enables researchers to study the interactions of gamma rays with matter, observing very small differences in the energy of electrons within atoms. This data can be used to identify the molecular structure of complicated compounds containing metal ions.[2]

Dr. Good contributed to the understanding of catalysts such as ruthenium which activate or speed up chemical reactions. At that time, no one had attempted to observe Mössbauer effects in ruthenium, in part because it had to be examined at extremely low temperatures, cooled by liquid helium. Good was able to study ruthenium, which exists in a variety of oxidation states, and derive detailed chemical and structural information.[6]

She also has done work in materials science on the physical and biological investigations of marine antifouling coatings, used to remove barnacles from ships.[6] Her publications include more than 100 articles in refereed journals[9] and several books.[6]

American Chemical Society

Good was the first woman to be elected to the board of the American Chemical Society in 1972. She was elected ACS Board Chairman in 1978 and 1980,[10] and became ACS President elect as of 1986, serving as president in 1987.[11][12]

Industrial career

In 1980, Mary Lowe Good was approached to become head of the Engineered Materials Research division at Signal Research Center, Inc.[2] (later United Oil Products, later Allied-Signal Inc.), with a staff of 400 scientists and technicians and annual sales of approximately $3 billion.[13] In 1981 Mary Good was chosen as Vice-President and Director of Research. She headed the Research Center during a period of significant changes (ownership, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures), maintaining a focus on new technology development and its licensing and commercialization. She became President and director of research for Signals Research Center in 1985, and President of Allied-Signal Engineered Materials Research in 1986[2] and then the Senior Vice-President of Technology, coordinating the activities of three research centers.[8][14]

Government service

Mary Lowe Good has held government positions under the administrations of four presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

In 1980 she was appointed to the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation by Jimmy Carter. In 1986 she was appointed to it again by Ronald Reagan.[15] From 1998 to 1991, she was the first woman to chair the board.[2] In 1991 President Bush appointed her to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).[16] All three positions were part-time commitments, held during the period in which she worked at Allied-Signal Inc.

In 1993 Dr. Good left Allied Signal to take a four-year full-time position as the Under Secretary for Technology for the Technology Administration in the Department of Commerce, under the Clinton Administration.[17] During this time Good lead the Clean Car Initiative to develop a hybrid gas-electric car.[2] She encouraged the government to fund basic research and emerging technologies.[2]

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

In 1997 Dr. Good became the Donaghey University Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also became the founding Dean of the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT).[18] She retired July 1, 2011, becoming Dean Emeritus of the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Special Advisor to the Chancellor for Economic Development.[9]

Other activities

In 1976 Mary Lowe Good was initiated into the Beta Phi Chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma at the South Dakota School of Mines.[19]

She has been member for Fund for Arkansas, LLC and Stage 1 Diagnostics, and has served on the boards of Delta Trust & Bank and St. Vincent Infirmary, Biogen Idec, IDEXX Laboratories, Cincinnati Milacron, Ameritech, Acxiom Corporation.[20]

From 1988 to 1993 Mary L. Good was president of Zonta International Foundation, an organization supporting the involvement of women in business and science, and the improvement internationally of their legal, political, economic, educational and health status.[2][6][21]

Dr. Good was the founding Chairman of ASTRA, the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America, beginning in 2000. She is a strong proponent of STEM education and a supporter of women in technology, and is recognized as a national leader in this area.[3]

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) elected Dr. Good to serve as the president in 2001.[22]


Mary Lowe Good with the Othmer Gold Medal, 1998
"For her achievements as an educator and industrial research manager. An extraordinary statesperson, a distinguished public servant, and a remarkable scientist, she has contributed broadly to the understanding and promotion of the value of science and technology."[36]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "Interview with Mary L. Good, June 2, 1998". Center for Oral History, Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2 February 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Yount, Lisa (2008). A to Z of women in science and math. New York: Facts On File. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0816066957. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Mary Good Named to National STEM Hall". University of Arkansas at Little Rock News. June 13, 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Dr. Mary Good Founding Dean". George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. University of Kansas at Little Rock.
  5. 1 2 "Mary Lowe Good". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). American women of science since 1900. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 445–446. ISBN 978-1598841589. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  7. "University of New Orleans Honors First African-American Students". UNO News. March 13, 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  8. 1 2 American Chemical Society Division of the History of Chemistry Program and Abstracts April 7-11, 2013 (PDF). American Chemical Society. April 11, 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  9. 1 2 "STEM Woman Leader of the Day- Dr. Mary Good (ASTRA)". STEMBlog. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. "Mary Good elected ACS Board Chairman". Chemical & Engineering News. 55 (50): 7. December 12, 1977. doi:10.1021/cen-v055n050.p007. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  11. "Mary Good wins ACS presidential election". Chemical & Engineering Society. 63 (46): 5–6. November 18, 1985. doi:10.1021/cen-v063n046.p005. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. "Mary Lowe Good To Receive 1997 Priestley Medal". Chemical & Engineering News. American Chemical Society. May 13, 1996. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  13. "Chicago`s 10 Most Powerful Women". Chicago Tribune. November 18, 1987. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  14. "Alumna focus: Dr. Mary Good Class of 1950" (PDF). University of Central Arkansas: 50–51. December 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  15. 1 2 "The Heinz Awards: Mary Good". The Heinz Awards.
  16. Committee on Comparative Innovation Policy: Best Practice for the 21st Century, Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, Policy and Global Affairs, National Research Council, National Research Council of the National Academies (2009). Wessner, Charles W., ed. Understanding research, science, and technology parks: global best practices : report of a symposium. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-309-13789-8. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  17. "Mary Lowe Good". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  18. "Dr. Mary Good Founding Dean, George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT).". University of Little Rock Arkansas. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  19. 1 2 "Alpha Chi Sigma Hall of Fame". Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  20. "Mary L. Good Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  21. "Past International Foundation Presidents" (PDF). Zonta International Foundation. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  22. "AAAS Presidents". AAAS Archives & Records Center. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  23. "Professional Awards". Iota Sigma Pi National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  24. "Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal". ACS Chemistry for Life. American Chemical Society (ACS). Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  25. "Gold Medal Award Winners". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  26. "Dr. Mary L. Good". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  27. "Good awarded the Fahrney medal". Analytical Chemistry. 60 (8): 499A. April 15, 1988. doi:10.1021/ac00159a714. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  28. Detjen, Jim (April 13, 1988). "Honor Set For Voyager At Franklin Institute". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  29. "Charles Lathrop Parsons Award". ACS Chemistry for Life. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  30. "Mary Good Wins ACS's Parsons Award for Public Service". Chemical & Engineering News. 68 (24): 16–18. June 11, 1990. doi:10.1021/cen-v068n024.p016.
  31. "IRI Salutes Award Recipients". Industrial Research Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  32. "Past Seaborg Medal Recipients". Glenn T. Seaborg Medal. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  33. Long, Janice R. (May 13, 1996). "Mary Lowe Good To Receive 1997 Priestley Medal". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  34. "Mary L. Good". AAAS Archives & Records Center. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  35. "Othmer Gold Medal". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  36. 1 2 "Vannevar Bush Award Recipients". National Science Foundation NSB Logo. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
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