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John C. Sheehan

medical scientist

Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, Sheehan graduated from Battle Creek College and received his master's and Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan. He began a 31-year teaching career at MIT in 1946. Sheehan's inventiveness extended beyond medical science. At the beginning of World War II, he and W.E. Bachmann of the University of Michigan devised a new and practical method of manufacturing the important military high explosive RDX (cyclonite), which replaced TNT as the basic explosive for rocket, bomb, and torpedo warheads. In 1953 and 1954 he served as a scientific liaison officer with the American Embassy in London for the Office of Naval Research. He was later a scientific adviser to presidents Kennedy and Johnson. During his lifetime he was awarded more than 40 patents.