Support for Fundamental Research

Ind. Eng. Chem. , 1943, 35 (6), pp 622–622. DOI: 10.1021/ie50402a602. Publication Date: June 1943. ACS Legacy Archive. Note: In lieu of an abstract,...
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of meeting an unprecedented situation and fearing a breakdown in transportation this year or early next because of exhaustion of the stockpile of natural rubber and insuficient production of synthetic rubbers. The layman still does not appreciate that American chemists and chemical engineers have been called upon to build in less than two years an industry equal to, if not greater than, the American organic chemical field developed in the past decade or two. This monumental achievement has been perfoimed M hen it VI as necessary to compete with such vital programs as 100-octane aviation gasoline and shipbuilding for such items as valves, compressors, and other scarce and critical materials. Despite the happy ending to the disputes between Rubber Director Jeffers on the one hand and Undersecretary of M-ar Patterson, Ickes, and OWI’s Davis on the other, the outlook in synthetic rubber is not without a few clouds, notabl? the action of some 52,000 rubber m orkers mho have halted production as this is written in Akron’s three main rubber plants and numerous smaller ones in protest against a nage decision of the National R’ar Labor Board. Kevertheless, Mr. Tojo and his satellites can derhe little satisfaction from these events. Their dream of crippling America’s wa1 effort by taking the natural rubber areas of the Far East has gone completely askea , American chemists and chemical engineers ha\ e frustrated one of the most carefully calculated war plans ever devised. It is high13 interesting that this accomplishment has been achieved without benefit of a governmental pseudo-scientific oligarchy of “lame ducks”.

Search for Fats


CHEMISTS the necessity for salvaging every possible pound of fats and vegetable oils is obvious. The country faces a serious shortage in glycerol and this situation probably mill become more acute now that Allied forces are on the offensive. The Chicago Section of the SOCIETY is to be congratulated for its active cooperation in assisting the FYPB in a nation-wide search for 350,000,000 pounds of fats and vegetable oils. An outstanding committee has been appointed t o work with WPB in fmding the causes for industrial fat losses as well as finding practical means for stopping them at the source or recovering them before they are lost forever. The vr-ork of this committee should result in the saving of millions of dollars now going down the sewer as well as millions of pounds of fat urgently needed for explosives and other important war uses. The synthetic rubber program will require approximately one hundred million pounds of fats and oils for the production of soap from our already strained sources of supply.

Vol. 35, No. 6

Investigations indicate that the average industrial catch basin to trap fats is grossly inadequate a t maximum flow periods. The Fat Recovery Committee has devised simple drain water test methods and loss standards to help management curb fat losscs. Some important industrial losses have already been discovered, and others ill be found. Considerable losses have been uncovered in the process of vegetable oil refining when fuller’s earth is used in clarifying and bleaching operations in place of solvent recovery practices. It has also been discovered that losses up to 50 per cent by weight are present at times in the spent cataljst used in oil hydrogenation. The Chicago area is, of course, a focal point for special effort in any program for industrial recovery work, but each local section of the SOCIETY can assist materially by instituting educational programs for the housewives of the United States. So far the drive in this direction has fallen far short of the goal established b j WPB. The apparent apathy of housewives and cooks in restaurants can be attributed to a lack of complete understanding of the value of glycerol to the war effort and to the fact that despite worthwhile advertising publicity the u omen who can help are not sufficiently aroused. Local sections and others interested can obtain full details from Marcus W.Hinson, JYar Production Board, 226 Kest Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Ill.

Support for Fundamental Research


IPROVENIENT in our military position from the uncertain days immediately following Pearl Harbor permits us to devote thought and energy t o postwar planning. Serious consideration should be given now to ways of maintaining at least a minimum of fundamental research for the duration. True, we have yet to win this war and the primary job of our scientists is to provide practical weapons of war, either for use directly in battle or in industrj. If wc lose the ~ a there r vi11 be little chance for fundamental research to survive. It is necessary to keep at least those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding ability in fundamental research where the) are best fitted by training and experience. The number of such persons in relation to the total number of technologists is extremely small. Fundamental and pioneering research cannot be turned off and on. Applied science is directly and immediately dependent on fundamental research. If a lengthy lapse occurs in the ‘VT ork of our skilled scientists engaged in pure science me run the risk of slowing down and actually impeding postwar progress. Much of such work is done in our colleges and universities. Sympathetic attention should be given to attempts to assist these institutions to hold together at least the nucleus of a staff. Such action does not require an elaborate governmental controlled or directed program. I