Skip to main content

George P. Scott papers

Identifier: MS-135

Content Description

The George P. Scott papers mainly contains material from his time at the University of South Dakota as a professor of chemistry and as an administrator.

The George P. Scott papers are divided into seven series: Printed Materials, Correspondence, Presentations/Plays/Poems, Publications, Manuscripts, Research Topics, and Ephemera.

The Printed Materials series contains material regarding Scott’s teaching and professional career. This series consists of: 1) USD Chemistry Department; 2) Honors Program; 3) Conferences and Symposiums; 4) Conferences and Symposiums; 5) Grants and Grant Applications; 6) Overhead Transparencies.

The Correspondence series includes letter from distinguished Noble Prize Laureates Ilya Prignone and Max Delbruck. Other letters and memorandums detail administrative duties and activities with colleagues in Chemistry and other departments/units across Campus. Scott also maintained correspondence with several of his former graduate students. Much of his correspondence pertains to participants and speakers for the John H. Lawrence Interdisciplinary Symposiums. Incoming and Outgoing correspondence are combined in the folders. Outgoing correspondence from Scott is indicated in parentheses.

The Presentations/Plays/Poems series comprises many of Scott’s original dramatic works, plays, and poems written while he was the head of the Honors Program. This series also contains Dr. Scott’s presentations before various university, academic, and community organizations combine scientific aspects with philosophical, moral, and religious issues.

The Publications series includes scholarly articles, pamphlets, and books that Dr. Scott authored or edited during his academic career.

The Research Topics series contains photocopies of articles that Dr. Scott used for research and classroom purposes. Patrons must be cognizant of copyright law while using these articles. Archives and Special Collections will not be held responsible for copyright infringement concerning these materials.

The Manuscripts series consists of unpublished materials, including typescripts of his experiences in Egypt while a Fulbright Lecturer and his doctoral dissertation.

The Ephemera series contains miscellaneous documents such as Dr. Scott’s resume, photographs, and medical reports from his service in the Naval Reserve during World War II.


  • Creation: 1935 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research without restrictions. Researchers are advised to contact the Archives and Special Collections prior to visiting. Advance notice may be needed to retrieve items for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers must obtain a signed Permission to Publish Form if they wish to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information from published and unpublished works held by ASC. Permission to reproduce, broadcast, or otherwise disseminate information materials from ASC does not constitute permission from the holder of copyright or literary rights. The researcher is responsible for securing permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce content from materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

George Prescott Scott was born on September 17, 1921 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He received his B.S. degree (1943) in Chemistry from the Worchester Polytechnic Institute. From 1943 -1946, Scott served as a special underwater ordinance officer in the Naval Reserve. Scott earned his Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry (1949) from the University of Rochester in New York under the director of Dr. D. S. Tarbell. His doctoral research consisted of an infrared study of colchicine. Beginning in September 1949, he became an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. From 1953-1955, he took a leave of absence to serve as a Research Associate at the University of Illinois Rubber Research Program, conducting projects in polymer chemistry under Professor C. S. Marvel. Scott continued to do research on chemical oscillations and trigger waves in dissipative structures, particularly looking at complex nonlinear dynamic systems in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction and, later in his career, with chaos theory. Chaos theory states that complex and unpredictable results will occur in certain systems.

After returning to USD in 1956, Scott was promoted to full Professor. He served as the elected chair of the Science Division of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1957-1958, and also acted as interim Chemistry Department chair from 1959-1961. In 1964 Scott became a Fulbright Lecturer at Assuit University in Egypt. For eight years he was the Director of the University Research Participation Programs supported by grants sponsored by the National Science Foundation. With a keen interest in interdisciplinary studies, Scott became the director of the Honors Program from 1971-1979, writing, producing, and directing several of his own dramatic works. From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, Scott coordinated all three of the John H. Lawrence Interdisciplinary Symposiums held in Sioux Falls. John Lawrence, the brother of Nobel Prize winner for the cyclotron, Ernest, was also an USD alum and a distinguished scientist in his own right. Lawrence is renowned in medical circles as the “father of nuclear medicine.” Scott retired in 1985 and passed away at the age of 80 on April 14, 2002.

Scott married M. Louise Hampshire on February 14, 1947 in Rochester. Mrs. Scott was a R.N. and was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at USD. The couple had four daughters (Laurel, Paula, Katherine, and Beverly), and one son (Frederick).


5.5 Linear Feet (11 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The George P. Scott papers mainly contain material from his time at the University of South Dakota as a professor of chemistry and as an administrator.


The George P. Scott papers are divided into seven series: Printed Materials, Correspondence, Presentations/Plays/Poems, Publications, Manuscripts, Research Topics, and Ephemera.

George P. Scott papers
Gayla Koerting
2003 January
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USD Archives and Special Collections Repository