Blogging is now resuming at the usual pace around here, even though I'm actually still off work today and tomorrow, for various reasons. It's snowing merrily out there, anyway, so I'm just as glad not to be doing the commute. We look to get a foot or so of the stuff during the day and tonight, and tomorrow night we're supposed to get down to -11 F (-24 C), which means the only reason I'm going out is to fill the bird feeder.
I spent the holidays lounging around with family, cooking various unhealthy foods, reading a stack of books given to me for Christmas, and writing away on The Chemistry Book. I'm now up to about 140-odd entries of the 250 I need, and I'm on a pace to finish well before my deadline. I still have a dozen or so open slots to fill as new topics occur to me or turn out to need to exist.
For each topic I'm trying to give credit where it's due, and erring on the side of generosity. But each person mentioned has to have birthdates (and date of death, when applicable), and that's led me on a few research chases. There are still a few people I've been unable to run down, so I thought I'd put them out here to try to tap into sources of knowledge greater than my own. Here are my mystery people at the moment:
Hennig Brand (first isolation of phosphorus): I have c. 1630 to c. 1692, and I don't know if there are any better dates out there.
Eduard Simon fl. 1840, inadvertent discoverer of polystyrene
Carl Friedrich Claus, (1829 - ????) inventor of the Claus sulfur extraction process
Charles Watt, fl. 1850, first separated cell for the chlor-alkali process
Christian Dantsizen, one of the many people who helped come up with stainless steel
E. A. Prudhomme, helped develop the Houdry petroleum cracking process
Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett, polyethylene pioneers
Fred Joyner, with Harry Coover, developing cyanoacrylates at Eastman
Arthur Rosinger and Edward McLaughlin, developers of the magnetic stirrer
Peter L. Pauson, Thomas J. Kealy, John F. Tremaine from the discovery of ferrocene (I have the other players dated).
William G. Eversole, synthetic diamond researcher (I have several others).
Denis L. Rousseau from the polywater story
Andreas Ludi Modern structure determination of Prussian Blue pigment
Those are my missing biographical dates at the moment, but there will probably be more as things go along. If anyone has any information on these people, I would be very happy to hear about it! Thanks very much. . .