About Chemical Innovation - Subscription Information
April 2001
Vol. 31, No. 4, p 56.
Letters from our readers

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Letters from our readers


Ben Luberoff died on January 18, 2001, after a long, heroic battle against cancer. He passed away peacefully and painlessly, surrounded by his loving family. His life was one full of positive and proud achievements.

Others will remember his remarkable qualities as a loving parent and grandparent, and his sterling accomplishments as an engineer, chemist, writer, editor, columnist, artist, and humanist. Indeed, Ben was all of these. What I will remember most is that Ben was my close and dear friend.

I’ll remember the long walks we took along city streets and lakeside paths and the talks we had. Our discussions on walks and during dinners were almost stream of consciousness. Any given discussion could easily have covered our respective families, new chemistry we were interested in, recent travels, current local and national politics, investment philosophies, how to fix or build one thing or another, projects we were at that time working on, excited about, or planning. Like our walks, our talks would start at one place, end up at another, while as many as 6 hours passed unnoticed.

I’ll remember that no matter how busy he was, Ben always had time to get involved. I’ll remember Ben’s enthusiasm and how infectious it was. I’ll remember his deep concern and caring for people and how he made that concern real by acting to make something happen at a local level. I’ll remember the armchairs we built together for handicapped children, as well as the help he gave me when I needed it most.

I’ll remember the moment Ben told me about his cancer, and how resolute he was to fight it. I’ll remember the battle he fought so bravely, and I’ll remember checking e-mail to read the “benjigrams” sent by his daughter Nancy with briefings on his condition. I remember the elation on hearing he’d been released from the hospital to return home, and the anguish on receiving the word of his death.

Ben’s passing was a tragic loss. It was too early because he had too much yet to do, too much yet to learn, too much knowledge yet to impart, too many good deeds planned but not done. It was too early because there wasn’t enough time to say a proper goodbye. Ben was my friend, and a friend to many others. He is missed; and I, and many who knew Ben, his family, and his friends, still grieve.

Martin L. Gorbaty
ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.
Annandale, NJ

I have just read the most recent issue of Chemical Innovation and was saddened to learn that Ben had passed away. I fondly recall that when I was program chair for a CMRA meeting (now CDMA) some years ago, I was fortunate to have Ben as a keynote speaker for the meeting. He was able to spread his wisdom in his inimitable style and indeed made the meeting a successful one.

Paul Weitz Technology Catalysts International Corp.
Falls Church, VA

Product development

Except where there is concern about something like national security, academic research institutions are generally amenable to publication. Industrial companies that conduct product development, however, are not.

There are two basic reasons that we do not see the product development process described in the open literature. One is the fear of giving information away to competitors. The other is the impact that such a publication could have on the granting of a patent or its subsequent defense. In fact, there was a time when demonstrating that a product had been developed through logical scientific thinking could be a reason for a patent to be denied.

Since the initial issue of CHEMTECH, I have been hoping to see articles that would give insight into the development of products, new or improved. I believe that learning new techniques in allied and even in unrelated fields can benefit those who do product development. The article titled “Time’s up! The color-changing self-expiring badge” by David Haas in the February 2001 issue of Chemical Innovation (pp 42–51) was an excellent example of what can be done to tell others how a new product came to be.

I hope that the article marks the start of a regular series devoted to new product development.

Fred H. Steiger
East Brunswick, NJ

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