Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mystery History -- Solved


11:41 A.M. UPDATE: That Bellis is a sneaky one! I didn't realize until just now that she posted an 11:34 p.m. guess last night: "I like the idea of Jack Parsons, but I think this is the Dutch chemist Arie Haagen-Smit (not to be confused with Haagen-Dazs) in his lab at Caltech." So she wins the fabulous prize!
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I scooped everybody this week, although Bellis posted her guess from a coincidental location!

In the photo above, Caltech Professor Arie Haagen-Smit is in a campus laboratory demonstrating how smog is formed by photochemical reactions of unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and ozone.


Born in Utrecht in the Netherlands, this “father of air pollution control” is best known for finding a direct link between automobiles in Southern California and the heavy smog that plagued the region for decades.

Ironically, Dr. Haagen-Smit was a heavy smoker. He died of lung cancer in 1977 at the age of 76.

There’s a nice little tribute to him here by a Caltech biology professor who worked closely with him.

Every year the State of California Air Resources Board presents the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards in his memory.

Chip Jacobs has a smog blog.

And see a recent L.A. Times article here.

As you probably know, there’s always a direct tie-in to local Pasadena government on all of my Mystery History reveals. So where’s the City of Pasadena tie-in for this one, you ask?

Bike Week Pasadena is coming up in two weeks!


There will be activities at Pasadena Museum of History, Central Park and other locations.

One of the guiding principles of Pasadena’s General Plan states “Pasadena will be a city where people can circulate without cars.”

Not a bike rider? You can still leave your car behind a take a Pasadena ARTS Bus, the Metro Gold Line (or even a combination of the two), or put on your walking shoes and get going!


Many thanks to Caltech and the California Air Resources Board.

3 comments:

Petrea said...

Another fun one as always! Informative, too. Thanks.

Bellis said...

Oh gosh, I didn't realize I was posting so late. I had no idea what the time or day in Pasadena was. Need to get one of those watches with two dials. Many thanks for another interesting Mystery.

Mister Earl said...

Well, if he was researching smog in those things, then my guess of a hookah factory wasn't so far off! ;-)