Discovering "Rediscovery" Page: 42
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The HEXAGON is pleased to welcome new Contributing Editor James L. Marshall (Beta Eta '71), and the Series"Rediscovery
of the Elements"written by Brother Marshall and his wife, Virginia. The GE thanks Jim's colleague and former GE, Brother
Gerry Dobson, for setting up the meeting at Conclave that resulted in getting this excellent new contribution for our readers.
Rediscovery of the Elements
A brief conversation
with James L. Marshall.
GE: Jim, what motivated this particular
JLM: For years I had been engrossed with
two classic books on the discovery of the ele-
ments, namely, Mary Elvira Weeks' The
Discovery of the Elements and James Riddick
Partington's series A History of Chemistry.
These books gave a fascinating account of
how chemists rose from the ignorance of
alchemy to the modern understanding of the
building blocks of nature. As captivating as
these books were, there was lacking a first-
hand look at where and how these events
occurred. I had always been allured by travel
and the thrill of discovery in Europe; for
example, one genealogical project culminated
with the discovery of the gravestones of my
great-great-great grandparents in County
Antrim, Ireland. Moving to the area of chem-
istry, it was natural to ask "Could we recap-
ture the discoveries at the original laboratory,
mine, or university?" The late 1990's provid-
ed a unique window to pursue this dream
fully because of three factors: (1) The Iron
Curtain had fallen, allowing easier access to
Saxony, Bohemia, the Carpathians, etc.; (2)
the Internet provided a facile way to commu-
nicate rapidly with Europe and make con-
tacts which previously might have taken
years; (3) digital cameras and GPS (global
positioning systems) now permitted thor-
ough yet inexpensive preservation of visual
and geographical information.
GE: What are your plans for the future?
JLM: Although The HEXAGON is an ideal
medium for giving an account of our travels,
we would like to expand this project to a CD-
based publication. There are dozens of chem-
ical re-discoveries remaining to be described,
About the authors: James L. (Jim)
Marshall earned his B.S. in chemistry,
at Indiana University (1962) and his
Ph.D. at Ohio State University (196 )
Starting his career at the University of
North Texas, Jim developed a research
program involving conformational
analysis utilizing carbon-13 NMR
coupling constants. In the 1980's Jim
moved to Motorola, where he devel-
oped the Advanced Manufacturing
Technology group at the Ft. Worth
facility. In the 1990's Jim returned to
UNT where he continued materials
research, and then chemical education.
He has 100 publications and four
books to his credit. V. R. (Jenny)
Marshall obtained her B.S. and M.d.
in education/computers at Texas
Woman's University, and since has
taught computer technology in
Denton. She has formed her own
computer business, JMC Systems, and
consults for Internet Global. Jenny and
Jim have been married for two years,
creating an ideal team for the
and it would take years to include all of them
in The HEXAGON. Furthermore, for each site,
we would like to present a more detailed
story. For example, in our account for
Romania, we would like to include the story
of negotiating the twisting rural road
through the Transylvanias among the cows
and goats; a side trip to the ancient Roman
gold mine of Rosa Montana; the warm cul-
ture of the Romanian people; etc. Thus, each
trip will be a running "slide show," complete
with text, to give the vicarious traveler an
actual feeling of being there. There are also
more data to be included: letters, quotations,
references. According to present plans, this
CD will be available in 2002.
Jim and Jenny Marshall with packs, camera, and
GPS, posing in England. They backpacked across
Europe, checking in no baggage during the airline
flight. They plan on at least two more trips to Europe
to finish up 'The Rediscovery of the Elements'series.
GE: What other projects are you
JLM: Just completed is "Walking Tour of the
Elements," a Power-Point presentation which
includes all elements and minerals (just
described in J. L. Marshall, "A Living
Periodic Table," J. Chem. Educ., 2000, 77, 979-
983), as well as feature sections on spec-
troscopy, magnetism, radioactivity, etc. The
"Walking Tour" includes about 300 slides
and 600 graphics, with full running text, and
is ideal for instruction at the high school or
college level. The "Walking Tour" was devel-
oped during the past five years while I com-
pleted this unique element/mineral collec-
tion and while a participant in the ACS
Speaker Tour program.
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Marshall, James L., 1940- & Coppola, Brian P. Discovering "Rediscovery", article, Autumn 2000; Indianapolis, Indiana. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc111173/m1/1/: accessed March 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.