Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Illinois credits CORN liquor, Wisconsin DAIRY sugar for success of wartime penicillin

Call me cynical, but if Florey had been steered to the University of  Wisconsin in Madison in 1941 instead of to the USDA lab in Peoria , we might have gotten wartime penicillin in serious production a whole lot quicker.

Albeit with only one (ahem) drawback: we'd all be deaf hearing  how it was the addition of lactose than finally made penicillin production commercially viable - and hear virtually nothing about the addition of corn steep liquor to the happy mix !

The Peoria team was backed by a Washington scientific organization (the OSRD) whose research was so so but whose postwar PR efforts were first class.

Peoria boss Robert Coghill had spent much of the war backing the wrong (synthesis) approach to penicillin, then deserted that sinking ship and began touting corn steep liquor....

By contrast, Madison was also hooked up with a Washington scientific body (the OPRD) whose science was A1, but who lost out badly in that always crucial press-agency side of serious, fundamental ,science.

In applied science, a process or machine either works or it doesn't.

But in fundamental science, the theories only grow on their listeners if well supplied with plenty of bullshit.

Or steep corn liquor......

Illinois has a few houses and peolpe but otherwise is mostly tens of thousands of square miles of corn fields (and pig barns).

Wisconsin , by contrast, is all grass and cows.....

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