Thursday, September 8, 2011

Conversations with Henry: This whole Texas thing...

Henry:  Watching Romney and Perry last night, I was reminded of the story of Al Cotton.

Me: How so?

Henry: Cotton was Geoff Wilkinson's first student -- I told you that here. Well, after graduating from Harvard, Cotton took a position at MIT which he held for many many years, building quite a group and reputation. He wrote a number of textbooks and advised quite a number of illustrious chemists. Perhaps the most famous thing he did was to identify the first quadruple bond, which was something outside the realm of organic chemistry.

Me:  Yeah, so?

Henry: The thing about Cotton was that he was arch-conservative, politically. Now, I suppose that really shouldn't matter in the physical sciences, but Al was finally so fed up that he up and left Massachusetts and went to Texas A&M.

Me:  Isn't that Rick Perry's alma mater?

Henry: Yes. Even worse, besides moving to Texas, he got Welch money.

Me: What's Welch money?

Henry: Well, some detractors thought it meant he was a Bircher. But you can google that one for yourself. All I can say is, they got the wrong Welch!  But to some, oil money is still dirty money.