Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harry Gray

He's won the Welch award to go alongside numerous other awards such as the Priestley Medal and the Wolf Prize.

Being a polymer chemist/chemical engineer, I've never really dealt with any of his research. I only mention this because of a memory tucked in the distance recesses of my mind. Back in early 1985, I was a freshman at the U. (Which U you ask? Why Minnesota. Everyone calls it "the U". I'm not sure why that doesn't happen in other areas. It wasn't like that in Urbana, even though UIUC dominates the town so much more that the U dominates the Twin Cities.) The professor mentioned at the end of one of the lectures that one of the authors of our textbook (Harry) was going to be giving a seminar later that afternoon and that we could certainly stop by and listen even if it was going to be way over our heads. So three of us did go and yes I can't tell any technical aspects of the work at all. I do remember a few other things though. He had a great happy personality (I don't think I would recognize him if I ever saw a picture of him without a huge smile on his face), he kept joking that he hoped
all his efforts would someday amount to something worthwhile (we all do, but how few of us openly talk about it) and he walked into the talk with a can of beer (there had been a reception before the talk, and he (and others) had kept some refreshments with them as they left the reception and went to the lecture hall. How times have changed.)

No long term lessons here, just some reflections.

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