Faculty Alumnus Dr. Irwin Pearl Turns 100

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Dr. Irwin Pearl, a longtime faculty member at IPS’s predecessor, IPC, celebrated his 100th birthday in December.  Dr. Pearl began his service at IPC in 1941.  His research focused on stream pollution and by-product utilization, lignin in particular, and his work contributed to paper mills’ successful removal of over one million tons of lignin waste from waterways.   Dr. Pearl retired in 1971.

H. S. (Doug) Dugal, the retired CEO of Integrated Paper Services, and an IPC alumnus also, shared his memories of Dr. Pearl:

It is a delight to write my feelings and thoughts about my friend Irwin Pearl; a teacher, mentor and a man of great sense of humor. An unassuming soul!

A long time has passed since I last met him but we, some Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC) people, often talk about him in our weekly get-togethers for Wednesday coffee at the Fox River Mall in the Appleton, WI area.

I met Dr. Pearl for the first time in 1964 and was associated with him as a working colleague until his retirement around 1970. In addition, he and I were neighbors on Linwood St. for a few years.

His laboratory was located on the northwest corner of the IPC research building. He is a quiet man but an authority on Lignin and other chemicals from natural materials like trees and unusual plants. No matter when I passed by his laboratory, he was busy doing his chemical isolation and characterization work and writing authoritative summaries of work on Lignin chemistry and uses. His work has been well published and famous throughout the world. When we heard the sound of an old typewriter, clutter-clutter, swish, clutter-clutter, we knew Irwin is writing another authoritative paper for worldwide audiences. What a man!

These are some of my memories of a great scientist, Irwin Pearl. It was my honor to have met him.


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