My father was a Professor of Chemistry at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. The Klaus Fritze Memorial Prize at McMaster is in his name. He came from a strong scientific pedigree, having been the graduate student of Fritz Strassmann in Mainz, Germany. Strassmann worked with Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner in the discovery of nuclear fission for which Hahn won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944.
My father died much too young in 1980. My only time with him was when I was young. By his nature and through circumstances, he was withdrawn. I’ve been left with a picture of a man who was intelligent, inquisitive and introverted.
Several of my father’s former colleagues and graduate students are in touch with my mother. She told one about The Case for Killing, who told another, and both have bought my book. I ended up meeting the second and his wife last week.
What I got from a delightful afternoon was a new perspective on my father as a professor. I learned of his love for pure research; of his interest in bright minds from many countries; of an open door policy that led to a spirited exchange of ideas; and of help given to others so they could find their way in the world. I also learned that he was an independent thinker, sometimes to his detriment.
In addition, I heard details that drew me closer for the first time in a long time: morning and afternoon teas in his office; disdain for conservative politicians; neat laboratories; and handwriting which mine has followed.
A happy, unexpected result of writing a book!
Copyright ©2015 Peter Fritze
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