Applied Science: The Man with the Powerful Kick

Robert E. Wilson liked to joke that "I pose as a businessman when talking to scientists and as a scientist when talking to businessmen." The confusion was natural. Over the years Wilson was a research chemist, the chairman of the board of the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission, chairman of the American Oil Co. Occupational pigeonholers marked him down as an applied scientist — a term that in Wilson's case meant a complete man using his varied talents completely.

In the Family. Wilson won scientific credentials aplenty — a B.S. from M.I.T. (1916),...

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