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Day 5: One Day in O-hi-o October 26, 2006

Posted by Bill Carroll in Cleveland, Ohio, Procter and Gamble.
1 comment so far

October 25, 2006  11 PM
Somewhere over Indiana

I could tell it was time to turn in the rental car this morning.  After you’ve had a few days on the road, all the trash tends to accumulate on the floor of the back seat behind the driver.  My general rule is:  When the back seat is full of trash, it’s time to turn in the car.  It was, and we did.

It was an early call for the flight to Cleveland through Detroit, but both flights went smoothly, then it was in a cab and out to Magnificat High School in Rocky River, OH.  The cab ride was relatively uneventful, but if that 15 minutes was any indication, the Cleveland city motto is “Use Your Horn.”

Magnificat Chemistry Club Charter PresentationMagnificat is a Catholic girls school of about a thousand students, and we were at the school to present the official charter for their Chemistry Club.  Our Chem Clubs program is a new pilot to determine whether there is interest in establishing a high school analog of our Student Affiliates.  Interest seems to be high, and I hope the pilot goes forward to become a full scale program.

The advisor for the Chemistry Club is Betty Dabrowski.  Betty is a long-time high school teacher and ACS member, innovative and respected.  There were about twenty girls present, mostly juniors, for pizza and the ceremony.  I had the chance to talk to most of them.

Their goals and planned courses of college study were quite diverse:  from a French major to a budding ultrasound technologist.  But they all had an ethic oriented toward public service in some fashion, and they were a pleasure to meet.

On a Pizza StreakThe pizza didn’t match Turoni’s, but that didn’t prevent me from ramming down a couple of pieces.  At 1 it was time to meet Mike Kenney and head on over to Case Western Reserve.  Mike has taught at the university level, worked at ACS, been Director of the American Society for Materials, and now is teaching again at both high school and college level.  He arranged for me to meet an introductory class of his.

The class and I discussed a number of issues that would matter to those students during their adult lives—disease, energy, you name it.  I tried to leave them with the idea that there was no time when innovative technology solutions were more needed, and I hoped they would consider taking on the grand challenges.

Two rows up from the bottom was a group of four students who showed up in new black t-shirts with the message: πρ on the front.  Pronouncing the Greek quickly comes out “Pi Rho” or “Pyro” which is an odd but not totally unimaginable message to be bringing to a chemistry class.  Keep an eye on them in lab, Mike.

Sal Castenada arrived from DC and took over from Dennis as TOT (Techie on Tour) and will manage the web presence materials for the next couple of days.  LaTrease is on the way back to DC as well, so we are officially without a HOTTIE (Handler on Tour, Taking in Everything).  The WHATNOT (While Having a Title, No Obvious Talent) remains the same.  By the way, Dennis got a favorable reading from the Evansville TSA on his clear, non Ziploc bag—“That’ll work”–and made it home, no problem.

It was Italian for dinner and a salad for me.  Yes, it was a House Salad.  What’s your point?  The conversation was lively as Jesse Bernstein of the Hawken School joined us for dinner.  Jesse is also a master teacher with 33 years of experience and great perspective.  We exchanged notes on class demos (his were better) and educational policy, but quickly Mike headed us off to the final event.

The South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga Public Library is housed in a 26-room early 20th century mansion and is both a peaceful and beautiful place to encounter books.  During National Chemistry Week, kids can also encounter science, courtesy of the Cleveland Local Section.

Tonight Mike Zehe and Lou and Sue Velenyi organized hands-on chemistry in the form of concrete-making for a group of young girl scouts and a few others.  The crowd was small but attentive, and I have a feeling that most of them went home motivated to repair the driveway before winter set in, but we didn’t find out because Mike whisked us off to the airport for the trip to Indianapolis.

P&G Chemical Landmark - TideAs an aside, today was the dedication of the Chemical Historical Landmark for the development of Tide laundry detergent at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati.  Tide was the beginning of modern detergent technology using “builders” in addition to detergents to clean clothes in hard water and do an improved job of removing dirt.  It was a great party and Katie Hunt was there representing the Presidential succession.

I have great admiration for P&G, especially recently.  I bought one of their Gillette division’s new five-blade Fusion razors, and I love it.  One wonders what the optimum number of blades is.  One version of Moore’s law seems to state that the number of blades on a standard razor doubles every five years.

But Fusion razors shave well, especially because they seem less likely to nick me.  So good are these razors that I have found that I can use them to shave the hair on my ears without risk of a nick.  Ears are sensitive places.  Perhaps you’ve never had either a cut ear or a burst water supply pipe under your sink.  Please don’t ask exactly how I know, but from experience, I can tell you that liquid gushes from each at about the same rate.  The ability to do a quick ear touch up on the road without a clipper is a real boon for those of us of a certain age who travel a lot without a barber on board.

It’s in to Greencastle tonight; DePauw and Purdue tomorrow.