Melvin Lorrel Nichols

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Melvin Lorrel "Pete" Nichols (30 November 1894 – 29 March 1981) was an American chemistry professor and author.

Early life

Nichols was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Joseph Wiseman Nichols, a cabinetmaker, and Sarah Rebecca Heidelbaugh. He was the youngest of six children.


Nichols was awarded his PhD from Cornell University in 1922. His thesis was “Dinitrosoresorcinol as a reagent for the quantitative determination of cobalt in the presence of nickel and other metals of the third group”.

He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Chemistry in 1929.

Nichols was on the faculty at Cornell University from 1923-1962, rising to become Emeritus Professor of Chemistry.

“Pete” Nichols' wrote two textbooks on analytical chemistry, Gas Analysis, co-authored with L.M. Dennis, and Laboratory Manual of Analytical Chemistry. In 1950, Pete Nichols agreed to become Executive Director of Cornell's Chemistry Department, a new position which involved supervision of the support facilities and the non-academic staff of what had become a large and complex establishment. He held this position until his retirement in 1962.

He died in California on 29 March 1981.

Personal life

He married Mary N Bancroft in 1926. They had one daughter, Sarah, "Sally".


  • [1] Cornell University
  • [2] Genealogy
  • [3] Obituary