Chicago Section, ACS
joint with the Chicago Chemists Club
Holiday Party/Meeting
Friday, December 12, 2003

Famous Mad Hatters


    Dr. James O'Brien

      Southwest Missouri State University
      Springfield, MO, 65804
Dr. James O'Brien

This is the Chicago Section ACS/Chicago Chemists Club Annual Holiday party/meeting.   At this event, everyone is a chemist (either practicing or honorary)!   Come join in the celebration with all your fellow chemists.   So, in addition to our technical program, Santa will be bringing gifts!   ENJOY!

We are asking you to also bring a gift!!!   Please bring some canned food or other non-perishable food item (in non-glass containers) that we, as the ACS, can donate to a charity for needy people in the Chicagoland area. Let's share our good fortune in the spirit of the season. THANKS!!

Meeting Details (click)

Abstract:   The origin of the phrase "Mad as a Hatter" is due to the incidence of odd behavior on the part of workers in the early felt hat industry. Their odd behavior, or "madness", was the result of mercury poisoning contracted on the job.

This presentation will discuss the recent mercury analyses done on the hair of Isaac Newton; the deterioration of the great mind of Michael Faraday; the bizarre behavior of Boston Corbett, the man who shot John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln; and the possibility that mercury poisoning affected the behavior of other famous people such as King Charles II of England, the author William Makepeace Thackeray, and a number of famous artists, such as Rubens, Renoir, Dufy, and Klee.

"Mad" women in History have been more difficult to locate. One eminent female whose health was affected by chemical exposure was Clare Boothe Luce. Her health problems while serving as U.S. Ambassador to Italy in the 1950's will be discussed.

Speaker Information:   James F. O'Brien was born in Philadelphia on July 4, many years ago. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. Following postdoctoral work at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico, Dr. O'Brien joined the faculty at Southwest Missouri State University.

In 1992 Dr. O'Brien received the Southwest Missouri State Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award; in 1994 he received the Southwest Missouri State Foundation Excellence in Research Award; and in 1996 the University named him Distinguished Scholar. In 2001 he received the Governor of Missouri's Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2002 Southwest Missouri State named him Distinguished Professor. He then retired.

His recent research interests have centered on molecular orbital calculations of the properties of organometallic and inorganic species. He also devotes time to studying the History of Chemistry.

His leisure time interests in their current order of preference are: Golf, Bridge, Sherlock Holmes, Civil War History, and Walking (formerly Running).

His wife Barbara is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. His son Ted is a Ph.D. chemist in Indiana; his son Mike is a businessman in California.

Date:  Friday, December 12, 2003
Social Hour: 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Cash Bar, with hors d'oeurves
Dinner: 7:00 PM
Meeting: 8:00 PM
Monastero's Ristorante
3935 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60659-1005
Gina's Banquet Room
Cost:  $38.00 for members of ACS or their guests and $40.00 for non-members.   The cost to students and unemployed members is $19.

Reservations:   (847) 647-8405


From Chicago:
Take I-94 (Edens Expressway) north to Peterson Avenue. Exit east. Go north on Cicero Avenue to Devon Avenue. Proceed east on Devon to the restaurant. The restaurant is block east of Crawford/Pulaski Avenue and on the south side of the street.

From the North:
Take I-94 (Edens Expressway) south to Touhy Ave. Exit east. Go south on Cicero Avenue to Devon Ave. Proceed on Devon to the restaurant. The restaurant is block east of Crawford/Pulaski Avenue.

From the West:
Take I-90 to the Nagle north exit. Go to Devon Ave. Turn east on Devon and proceed to the restaurant.

Parking:   The restaurant has convenient, free valet parking.

Fresh Fruit Cup
Dinner Salad with choice of Italian or Creamy Garlic Dressing
choice of:
    Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Marsala Sauce
    Broiled Salmon with Limone Sauce
    or Eggplant Parmesan
Broccoli and Glazed Carrots
Cheese Cake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce

    Updated 11/13/03