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Research Fellow, giving some lectures at Honours level but mostly doing research on the chemistry of "muthi" plants. The 23rd S. The official excursion to Stellenbosch was exceptional. I still remember sitting under a tree with a group of chemists at Simonsig listening to Frans Malan introducing the merits of his wines.

The formalized tasting facilities and restaurant that exist today are outstanding but did not exist then. Encountering fellow chemists from the Convention, Jack Lacy and Mike Booth, was rewarding in the development of long time personal contacts. Another encounter, a year or two later, illustrating the hospitality and informality of the times arose at a tasting and discussion of the merits of Pinotage and its origins. It was a varietal with which I was unfamilar before coming to South Africa.

Our host, Sydney Back, immediately took me into the vineyard and showed me the clusters of extremely small flowers. Chromatographers wanted a formally recognized body within S. It is probably hard to imagine today with the internet that, there was an appreciable delay in obtaining journals in A conversation on this topic with George Morrison, the Editor of Analytical Chemistry , will long be remembered. In fact, his editorial published later in the year makes it impossible to forget. Fast forward several years and subsequent to retirement from UNISA in , I dabbled in a number of activities including patchwork and tailoring tools.

Moving to Kimberley in the Northern Cape in , I became more involved with environmental concerns w. From through , I took on the task of editing analytical related articles for the South African Journal of Chemistry. I am fully retired now, after retirement from Chemical Abstracts I was a visiting professor at The Ohio State University and spent a few wonderful years doing mostly research and then also teaching of evening classes. I write publications now at home, concentrating on work that fell through the cracks, but my abilities are declining rapidly, it takes me ages to finish a paper.

It was made of cardboard and laminated with thin fibres of coarse-weave fabric for durability and bore a stamped signature of the President. I seem to remember attending meetings a in the Johannesburg CBD, maybe on Hollard St, and b in a pale green and beige building on the south side of Jorissen St, I think, in Braamfontein. I forget the number; I think that I became a student member during my second year at Wits, , aged nineteen.

Hot on the heels of that missive came a rescission with an apology; I was still way short of the other criterion — being over 70 years old! Anecdote 2: The late Prof. Unluckily for him, his name came out of the hat in his absence.

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What cruel misfortune! Current activities During my years working for Union Carbide in the s and s, I became interested in molecular sieve zeolites. Aspects of surface chemistry in porous materials gained a new lease on life when, about 15 years ago, I became interested in biomass-based charcoal when used as a soil amendment. It has many edaphic attributes but three stand out:.

Some of my quasi-academic thinking is published on the Researchgate website. To date my work is self-funded and currently stalled. I had an uncle, R. Wood Bob , a chemical engineer who was actively involved in the Southern Transvaal branch. At that time the chemical engineers did not have their own professional body. He and H. Roy Corbett, science teacher at KES, were largely instrumental in sparking my interest in chemistry.

Following the death of my father I spent a lot of time with the Wood family. On the odd occasion I used to accompany him on his visits to clients and colleagues. On one particular occasion he had an appointment with Dr. Coincidently, I ended up at the same locality in the late eighties. The branch was very active and held regular functions.

Monthly dinners were par for the course. Bob always kept me abreast of the activities and I got to know the likes of Dr. Arnold Mendelowitz and Dr. Issy Israelstam and Sam Goodman.


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I got to know Sam better in later years when we served on the same committee together with Dr. In the early sixties my uncle served a term as chairman of the branch. It was customary for the occupant of the position to present a paper at the end his tenure.

This was always a gala event. Snow and F. One such school was devoted to sampling and several knowledgeable individuals contributed. I have a vivid picture of one such contributor from the Chamber of Mines Research Organization, viz. It was conveniently situated close to the mining houses and the Chamber of Mines. Apart from providing secretarial services and a home for the different societies it also housed meeting rooms, lecture rooms, a restaurant and a bar. It was central to all activities. Sadly in the nineties with the dissipation of mining activities to other parts of Gauteng, Kelvin House lost its relevance.

On entering studies in chemistry at Wits.


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  6. Issy Israelstam who was responsible for the organic chemistry course. He was most persistent. If my memory serves me correctly I joined the society in Pieter Marais and Rob McCrindle were involved with the negotiations with the assayers.

    One of my fondest memories is of an Annual Meeting at Stellenbosch in, I think, Somehow, Anton Rupert had been persuaded to be a sponsor, and had backed his support with many cases of his wine. Networking after hours became quite robust, so much so that the organisers had to ask Dr Rupert if he would kindly replenish the stocks which he did.

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    But his generosity did not end there. He threw a wonderful dinner party on his farm outside Stellenbosch.

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    We were bussed to the farm, and sat on long tables round a pool. Again, ethanol was high on the list of refreshments available. Half way through the meal, a near neighbour at my table felt he was being denied further supplies, so asked the red-coated waiter standing just behind him for a refill.

    The red-coated person was in fact Dr Rupert, resplendent in a blazer, and without blinking an eyelid, asked a real waiter to assist the now embarrassed guest. Much of my research has to do with the problem of how poor people cook.

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    Millions still rely on biomass combustion, which almost invariably generates smoke, and there is increasing evidence that the resulting indoor air pollution has long-term effects on health. Through the understanding of the dynamics of combustion, we have had great success in developing a clean stove. In China, a World Bank pilot in Hebei province involves new stoves, and we are partly involved in determining the effects on air pollution downwind towards Beijing as the roll-out proceeds.

    It is all a long way from my original chemical interests, which were largely solution chemistry, but what I have found in my career that the solid foundation of chemistry and physics which I received at University have stood me in good stead in addressing a very wide range of problems, from the production of essential oils to carbon capture and storage to processing Dead Sea water to - the list goes on!.

    When I graduated and started working at Iscor in I became a full member and was persuaded to become the secretary of the Pretoria Northern Transvaal Branch. We became close friends, a friendship that lasted until his death at the age of 92 in France. On my return I once again became the Secretary for the Pretoria branch and it was at this stage that we had an application for membership from a black PhD and were told by a senior member of the SABS that if we accepted the application we would endanger our future careers since we were all vaguely employed by the State and our action would not be appreciated.

    Led by Guido Perold we ignored this warning threat. In the 18th Convention was held in Pretoria and I was the secretary ably assisted by Les Anderson.