Patrick, Walter Albert
The Milton S. Eisenhower Library
The Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
11 document boxes 4.6 linear feet
The collection consists of seven series: correspondence, personal, research/writings, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola College in Maryland, Silica Gel Company/Davison Chemical Company, and the Atomic Energy Commission.The collection's research strength lies in its documentation of two aspects of twentieth century science: commercial applications of scientific discoveries, and the use of science to solve problems created by science. Both points are covered by Patrick's work with silica gel.Because silica gel has so many uses, a private company, the Silica Gel Company of Baltimore, was formed to develop commercial uses of the material. The company later became a division of the Davison Chemical Company. Patrick served as a consultant while continuing to teach at Hopkins. Research on silica gel is one of the primary topics of the research/writings series. A typescript and printed copy of Patrick's dissertation is in series 2, but there are seven drafts of articles on silica gel in this series. It is not clear whether these are by Patrick or rather results of work done in the Davison Lab under his supervision. Additional material on the use of silica gel in petroleum cracking can be found in the W.W. Holland Papers Ms. 231. Patrick's lab notes are not well-represented in this collection except for his studies in Germany in series 2. The rest of the notes consist of calculations and fragmented commentary. The correspondence series documents Patrick's attempts to patent and market other inventions. The material is arranged chronologically and the bulk is from Baltimore and Washington, D. C. patent attorneys. Patrick's discoveries included a process for treating oils and oil distillates to remove impurities, a method of dehydration, and techniques for acid mine waste treatment. In 1954, Patrick entered into a contract with the Atomic Energy Commission to perform "research on methods of formation of insoluble minerals to permit fixation of long life radioactive wastes." Basically, Patrick proposed to turn the waste into solid rock. In theory, then, the decay rate would be slowed down so as not to be harmful to human life. AEC minutes, research reports and papers can be found in series 7and in the 1950s correspondence. One of the more valuable parts of the AEC series are the papers presented to the Second Working Meeting of Fixation of Waste and Stable Solid Media, held in Idaho Falls on September 27-29, 1960. Additional information about the work of the AEC on nuclear waste disposal can be found in the Abel Wolman Papers, Ms.105, Series 7.Patrick's years in teaching are chronicled by the Johns Hopkins University and Loyola College in Maryland series. Papers turned in by Patrick's students form the bulk of each. Because few students indicated their institution on their research papers, most of the papers were filed with the Hopkins material, based on the length of his tenure there. There are also a few exam questions and handouts from Patrick's physical chemistry classes in the Johns Hopkins University series. Patrick received a large number of reprints of articles from his colleagues. A bibliography of these pamphlets can be found in Appendix A.