Science: The Inventive Mind

Margery Sterling, who took a master's degree in home economics at Cornell, is a young housewife who knows how to turn out a lemon pie. One day husband Robert, a chemist in Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s Pittsburgh laboratories, got to wondering if anything on earth was fluffier or lighter than Margery's meringue topping. That helped him along with a scientific idea.

In the lab, aided by twice-a-day phone talks with his wife, Sterling broke eggs, separated the whites and whipped them up. Then he measured the physical properties of his meringues. After using dozens of...

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