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Alchemy: The Usefulness of Useless Pursuits

by Bill Mikuska

FRIDAY, September 23, 2016

To be held at

McCrone Research Institute
2820 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

6:00 PM: Italian food and sides ~ Tariff (if eating) $15.00

Contact Freddie Smith for Reservations / Cancellations at 312-842-7100 or Freddie@mcri.org by Noon THURSDAY, September 22, 2016

7:00 PM: Presentation
Chemistry, in its many forms today, encompasses the alloys of metallurgists, drugs and over-the-counter remedies of the pharmacist and physician, soaps, perfumes and cosmetics of the cosmetician and beautician to pigments of the artist, colored paints on the wall, the dyes of your rugs and clothes and fabrics from which they are made. These Items existed before alchemy. To experience and enjoy these materials you need to be alive. Obsessed with the prolongation of life and aging, man has sought after a how-to panacea for immortality. Over centuries stories change, recipes change, but charlatans still prevail. This presentation will take us on a journey involving chicanery, greed, power, wife-swapping and dreams. What we know as alchemy has contributed to man's search for immortality and eventually wealth.

Bio Sketch: Bill C. Mikuska received his BS and MS in chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology with emphasis in physical chemistry and chemical physics. Research studies included gas-surface interactions by molecular beams and X-ray induced defects in alkali halide crystals. A 30 year teaching career at Triton College followed where he engaged students to use polarized light microscopy in independent study projects. He was president of the State Microscopical Society of Illinois for 9.5 years and has received the Emile Chamot award. Bill is also a fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society. He taught classes in polarized light microscopy to high school students, high school and middle school teachers, and engineers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and at the Argonne National Laboratory. Most recently he became a member of the Rowfant Club, a bibliophilic society founded in Cleveland in 1892. His interests range from classical music (organ performance and practice), Venetian and French glass, antique bronzes, art, meteoritics, mineralogy and botany.


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