Conant, James Bryant
James Bryant Conant (kō´nənt), 1893–1978, American educator, b. Dorchester, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1913; Ph.D., 1916). Except for a brief period in the army (1917–19), Conant taught chemistry at Harvard from 1916 until 1933, serving as chairman of the department during the last three years. He was president of Harvard from 1933 until his resignation in 1953. Conant was chairman (1941–46) of the National Defense Research Committee, playing a significant role in the development of the atomic bomb. After World War II, he was an adviser to the National Science Foundation and the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1953 he was appointed U.S. High Commissioner for Germany and later served as ambassador to West Germany (1955–57). He directed a number of extensive investigations of American education and published widely in the field. Conant's writings include Education in a Divided World (1948), Modern Science and Modern Man (1952), Education and Liberty (1953), Slums and Suburbs (1961), The Comprehensive High School (1967), Scientific Principles and Moral Conduct (1967), and his autobiography, My Several Lives (1970).