Friday, June 9, 2017

Dr Irvin Stewart : "Laboratories cannot be run by 4-F's or Women or by the Grace of God alone."

Dr Irvin Stewart, later president of West Virginia University, was Executive Secretary of the Allies' top science agency (Vannevar Bush's OSRD) when it delivered its promised death-dealing A-Bomb but failed to deliver its promised life-saving synthetic penicillin.

But he is likely to be best remembered for memorably defending the wartime right of the middle class to stay home --- while the working class died overseas in the mud and horror of actual combat.

In his official (and heavily bowdlerized ) history of the OSRD, "Organizing Scientific research for War", he pleads to keep educated white middle class men safely at home because :

"Laboratories cannot be run by 4-F's or women or by the Grace of God alone."

 But my entire last decade has been devoted to showing that "4Fs, Women and the Grace of God" in fact can successfully run laboratories and bring the greatest possible renewed hope to humanity.

Running on mere fumes rather than secure funding, facing heavy official resistance and powered only by an Agape concern for others, a handful of 4Fs and women successfully gave us all of wartime's penicillin and developed the methods we still use to produce all the base material for today's leading family of life-saving antibiotics, the Beta-Lactams.

The real heroes and heroines  of the successful wartime penicillin story, were Henry and Marjorie Dawson, Charles Aronson and Miss "H", Tom Hunter, Floyd Odlum and Dante Colitti : in that era's doctrine of "Survival of Only the Fit", they were cripples and defectives, with barely a good limb or sensory organ among them.

They seemed more a mass of wheelchairs, crutches, canes, eye patches and oxygen masks than a scientific team on a mission of love, but somehow they pulled it off.

I don't know what part the Grace of God played, but somehow, between them, fighting off their own bodies as well as the combined weight of their own Allied governments, they have made the world a better healthier place for ten billion of us, to date, since 1940.

Take that and stick it in your pipe, Dr Stewart ---- if the Devil still permits smoking...

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