1964 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"There is no substitute for a good education."
John Warner was born in 1897 on a farm near Goshen, Indiana. When he was eight, his father died. Warner and his older brother went to work before and after school and during summers to help their mother and two sisters. Warners's mother had been a schoolteacher before she married, and she encouraged her children to stay in school. He attended a one-room schoolhouse and worked on local farms. In high school, he began working for a furniture manufacturer and became a cabinetmaker. He enrolled at Indiana University and majored in chemistry. Through a combination of work, loans, and scholarships, he graduated in 1918 with a degree. He worked in Philadelphia as a chemist while earning a master's degree in 1920 and then a Ph.D. in 1923. He did postdoctoral work in physics at the University of Michigan. Following research jobs with oil companies in Tulsa and Fort Worth in the early 1920s, he accepted a position as an instructor in chemistry at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. He advanced through the academic ranks to professor of chemistry and headed that department from 1938 until 1949. During World War II, he supervised research on the chemistry and metallurgy of plutonium for the Manhattan Project. He was appointed president of the Carnegie Institute in 1950.* Deceased