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James J. Christensen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 4020

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of Dr. Christensen’s professional and academic files and documents his dealings with students (class lecture notes and handouts, exams and homework solutions, letters of recommendation, etc.) and colleagues in the field of thermochemistry, with emphasis on calorimetry. It includes materials (maps, schedules, articles, proceedings reports, etc.) from the numerous scientific conferences and other symposia in which Christensen participated, as well as those documenting addresses given and awards received by Christensen. It also includes many of his publications. Dated 1930-1993.


  • 1930-1993


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the James J. Christensen papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

James J. Christensen (1931-) was the department chair of the chemical engineering department at Brigahm Young University.

James J. Christensen was born April 30, 1931 to James J. and Arline Hearty Christensen in Salt Lake City. He graduated from East High School in 1948 and attended the University of Utah where he received a B.S. degree in 1953 and an M.S. degree in 1955, both in chemical engineering. He married Virginia Bills June 10, 1952 in Salt Lake; the marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple, and blessed with five children, Mark, Larry, Blake, Scott, and Holly. After earning his doctorate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1958, he joined the chemical engineering department at Brigham Young University, serving as department chairman from 1959 to 1961.

He was a visiting scientist at Oxford University in 1965 and at the Polytechnical Institute-Mexico in 1973, and was a recipient of an NIH career development award from 1967 to 1972.

Professor Christensen has written or edited twelve books, contributed chapters in ten others, and co-authored fifteen major review articles. He has also published over 250 research articles in a wide variety of journals. He was a co-founder of the Thermochemical Institute at BYU in 1969 and served on the board of directors from then until 1985. In 1977 he co-founded what has since become the international conference dealing with the chemistry of macrocylic molecules.

He developed a student course in creativity that has also been presented at various chemical companies. In addition, he taught several hundred undergraduates, and helped direct 20 Ph.D. and 45 M.S. graduate students.

He was the Sigma Xi annual lecturer at BYU in 1966 and the Seventh Annual Faculty Lecturer (outstanding faculty member at BYU) in 1970. He received Karl G. Maeser awards for research (1967) and teaching (1981), the Huffman award for outstanding thermochemists, the 1977 Utah Award for outstanding contribution in the field of chemistry, and was named outstanding faculty member of the College of Engineering Sciences and Technology in 1979. In August 1987 he also received the national 3M Award from Outstanding Achievement in Chemical Engineering.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

41 carton (41 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The professional and academic papers of James J. Christensen, Brigham Young University professor, dated 1930-1993.

Custodial History

Donated by James J. Christensen's wife, Virginia, in 1987. Donated by Reed M. Izatt in June 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Virginia Christensen; 1987.

Donated; Reed M. Izatt; June 2010.


Part of University Archives; department records (University Archives collecting policy July 2003).

Processing Information

Processed; Amanda Clark; July 2007. Processed; Kayla Quinney; June 2010.

Register of James J. Christensen papers
Karen Glenn and Amanda Clark, Student processors and John Murphy, curator Kayla Quinney
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States