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McCormick, Bart E. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 28, Number 2 (Dec. 1926)

A great temple of the future,   pp. 54-55


Page 54


December, I92'6
             A Great Temple of the Future
             PROPOSED INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN COLLOID CHEMISTRY
"Take interest, I implore you in those sacred dwellings which one designates
by the- expressive term: Laboratories. Demand
that th y. be multipli. d, that they -be adorn ed; these -ar the t mtpies
of the future-temples of
it is that humanity grows greater, stronger, better."-Louis Pasteur.
A   ND WHO of all men could speak
     with more authority on such a sub-
ject than Pasteur, the founder of the
science of bacteriology and of the great
-Pasteur Institute!
  There has been developed at the Uni-
versity of Wisconsin an idea for a great
research laboratory from which may well
emanate discoveries as important and
perhaps of even greater significance than
any that have ever appeared from the
great Pasteur Institute. This plan con-
templates the erection of a National In-
stitute for Research in Colloid Chemis-
try at Madison; an institute which
would serve as a national center for re-
search in this field; an institute to which
scientists from all parts of the country
would come for help, for inspiration and
for the opportunity of using the special
equipment available; an institute which
would serve as a training school for col-
loid chemistry teachers and research
workers; an institute which would serve
as the fountain head of colloid chemical
knowledge for all of America.
   "The problems of colloid chemistry
 are intimately bound up with the prob-
 lems of the biologist, the physiologist,
 the physicist, the agriculturist, the in-
 dustrialist, the engineer, the physician,
 the geologist, and many others. Diffi-
 culties which, twenty years ago and less,
 seemed insurmountable are today over-
 come with ease by the application of the
 principles of colloid chemistry. The
enthusiasm of the workers in this field is
more than justified by the record of
progress that has been achieved and it is
to their credit that they are now seeking
to provide for a symmetrical develop-
ment of the scien&s by providing a 'cen-
tral station' from which shall radiate the
power of classified and coordinated
effort, intensified *by the enthusiasm
which such an aggregation of workers in
a specialized field would naturally bring
forth, and vitalized by the leadership of
those who stand highest in their attain-
ments in this branch of chemistry.."
  During the. past twenty years, a new
branch of science has grown to full ma-
turity. This science hqs, for certain
historical reasons,; become known as
"colloid chemistry." Curiously enough,
colloid chemistry is largely concerned
with familiar things, the clothes we wear,
from our hats to our shoes, the food we
eat, the houses we build, the furniture
in our homes, the papers and books we
read, the flowers, pictures and paintings
we enjoy, the structural materials for
pretty nearly everything from a watch-
spring to an ocean liner-and, lastly, and
most important of all, the body tissues
of which we are composed, are largely
colloidal.
  And what is colloid chemistry? Col-
loid chemistry is the chemistry of sys-
tems consisting of extremely finely di-
  *From an editorial in News Edition of Indus-
trial and Engineering Chemistry.
well-b ing and of happiness.  There
vided material in a state of suspension
in other material or materials. Colloid
chemistry resolves itself, then, into the
study of finely divided material in sus-
pension. Strangely enough, the cherm-
istry of such finely divided systems is
often very different from the chemistry
of ordinary solutions, concerning which
scientists have been collecting informa-
tion for generations.
   Because of the lack of precise knowl-
 edge and because of its obviously tre-
 mendous importance, many scientists
 have of late turned their attention to
 this fertile field. The importance of a
 thorough knowledge of colloid chemistry
 is now realized not only by the chemist,
 but by the medical man, the agricul-
 turist, the biologist, the physicist, the
 engineer, the geologist, and the indus-
 trialist, as well. A knowledge of some of
 the fundamental principles of colloid
 chemistry is daily solving many prob-
 lems which have long caused difficulties
 in many industries; problems ranging
 from the making of edible jellies and the
 canning of fruits, to the manufacture of
 leather or fine alloys of steel, from the
 .dyeing of fabrics to the preparation of
 lubricants for special purposes, from the
 manufacture of rubber goods to the
 preparation of electric lamp filaments,
 from the making of ink to the produc-
 tion of hydraulic cement, from the man-
 ufacture  of  photographic films and
 plates to that of soap, from the manu-
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