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William F Coleman, Wellesley College
William F Coleman, Wellesley College's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 days ago
Joined: 11/03/2008 - 9:11am

So Habe Ich Gesagt

In late 1966 or early 1967, while still a grad student at IU, I drove down to the University of Kentucky for a two day seminar on reaction mechanisms of coordination compounds.  The speakers were Fred Basolo, Ralph Pearson, Cooper Langford and Harry Gray (who had just moved from Columbia to Cal Tech).  Langford and Gray had just published their book "Ligand Substitution Reactions" (now available free as a pdf at http://caltechbook.library.caltech.edu/100/) and Basolo and Pearson had just finished working on the second edition of their classic on the same topic, although it was not yet published.

The seminar was a great summary of the state of the field at that time, and also of the friendly rivalry between the Basolo/Pearson and Langford/Gray approaches to some of the important unanswered questions of the time.

Fred Basolo was a huge fan of Werner and his work, and referred to him constantly in his presentations.  At the last session, each of the four gave a summary of where they thought the field was headed, and Basolo ended his by saying that if Werner had been listening to all of the theories and interpretations of the last two days he would have twiddled with his mustache and said "So habe Ich gesagt", which Fred translated idiomatically as "Told you so!".



Joanne Stewart, Hope College
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 11:05am
Thanks, Flick. This is great! We want more stories.
Nancy Scott Burke Williams, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College
Last seen: 3 days 15 hours ago
Joined: 11/17/2007 - 10:57am
That's fantastic! I once heard (I have no source for this), that Wolfgang Pauli was notorious for standing up in the middle of seminars and exclaiming, "Nein! Das ist Falsch!" (No! That is false!). I don't know if it is true, but had he been in our department, I think we would have come up with a new Pauli Exclusion Principle...namely, that Pauli is to be excluded from all future seminars on principle.