Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hot Off the Press

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica  "A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed throughout another substance." Rice university was blessed with a world expert on the subject, it's very own Dean and professor, Dr. Harry Boyer Weiser. We've met Dr. Weiser several times already as he was mentioned in various other articles. See Rice Institute to Be Represented at Meet, for a photo of Ethel receiving her diploma from Dr. Weiser. Here, in another article from the first ten days of September, Ethel continues to report on the Chemistry department and her professor's new textbook.

"Rice Dean Gets Copies Of I! His New Book on Chemistry 

September 10th, 1939

First copies of a textbook, just off the press, entitled "Colloid Chemistry," have been received at Rice Institute by the author, Dr. Harry B. Weiser, professor of chemistry and dean of the institute.
Giving numerous applications of colloid chemistry in agriculture, industry and home economics, Doctor Weiser has tried to provide a textbook that will keep the students interested in the technical study through practical applications. Examples of this are the including of a method of manufacturing ammonia, the theory of why Jello and other gelatin desserts jell, a process for making petroleum drilling muds, and even a recipe for making mayonnaise.

Gall stones and agate both come from colloidal materials, he points out in another section of the book. Insect sprays are made to cover a larger area, wet the surface more thoroughly and last longer due to the addition of proper colloids.
Dean Harry B. Weiser
Source: U.S. School Yearbooks 2010. 
Rice Institute 1938 p. 16

Sixth He Has Published.

This is the sixth book Professor Weiser has published. The text is intended to give the student a thorough grounding in colloid chemistry, with special attention to the modern theories and developments, and also to acquaint him,with the wide applications of science to industrial arts, biology land agriculture.

Applications to lubrication, adhesives and soaps are made in the first section of the book, in which absorption is taken up. Bentonite, the material which prevents the hardening of clay in the earth's strata around the drill in drilling for petroleum, is discussed in the division on colloidal gelatins.

Dyestuffs Discussed.

Dyes and dyestuffs are discussed in a later section, in which technical methods of keeping cloth from spotting when dyed brilliant colors are pointed out. The section also presents the best methods of preparing blueprints.

The book, to be used this year in Professor 'Weiser's courses at Rice in colloidal chemistry for senior and graduate students, is an outgrowth of his 25 years of experience as an instructor and professor in the science at Cornell University, the University of Tennessee. and Rice Institute.

Doctor Weiser is a member of the executive committee of Sigma Xi, national honorary science fraternity; chairman of the National Colloid Symposium, and chapter councillor of the Rice Chapter a Phi Lambda Upsilon, national honorary chemistry association. He is one of the foremost American authorities on colloid chemistry."
Photo of the original text book from Amazon

The book is now out of print, though a few used copies are available on amazon for about $3.00. My hunch is that Ethel, a senior in 1939, would have signed up for this class and was the first of Chemistry students around the country to use the textbook, written by the renown professor. Dr. Weiser seemed ahead of his time in trying to make Chemistry more attractive to students by focusing on it's practical implications.


  1. Yes, I remember Weiser from your earlier posts. Colloids! Hooray, they sound quite useful . . . and it was famous then the way a new App for the iPhone would be famous today. I liked chemistry in school, but now with the physics of chemistry it has gotten way more complicated.

    Just off the press. Cool.

    1. He did make them sound cool and applicable. Makes me what to go back and review my chemistry! Thanks for stopping by!


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