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Short Stories of Science and Invention

A Collection of Radio Talks by
Charles F. Kettering


24.  A Man Who Groped in the Dark

Cup    One day, a wealthy nobleman of the neighborhood showed Palissey a white enamel cup which came from the Orient. It fascinated him immediately. In fact, he admired the cup so much that, then and there, he resolved to make enamelware just like that cup, in spite of the fact that he knew nothing about pottery, and to the best of his knowledge, there was no man in France who could make enamels.

    He told his wife that evening, "I will have to grope in the dark, for I have no knowledge of clays and I don't know anything about the composition of enamels. "As we say today: he had to start from scratch, because there was no other way. There was nothing in literature, as all important information at that time was kept secret.

    Palissey said: "I will build a furnace in the old open shed back of the house and will work on this in the evenings. I can coat some of the broken pieces of flower pots with the chemical compounds which I will want to try. Some of these may turn out to be the white enamel I am looking for." For months, in all kinds of weather, he worked in the open shed without apparent results. However, he was getting first-hand experience.


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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
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