I’m a scientist by training. A chemist, to be specific. While I am no longer a practitioner of the craft, I will always be tied to the romanticism and mythology of the endeavor. Sadly, the romanticism is giving way to a new reality. William Lipscomb passed away last week and I think this tribute is fitting. You can sum up the old traditions of chemistry in this single quote: “You can see the fire in his eyes.”
With many endeavors, the more money is a factor, the less passion will be. William Lipscomb is from a time before multi-million dollar grants or academic licensing (as always R.B. Woodward was the exception).
Lipscomb was from a time when science was a vocation and not an occupation.