Monday, February 11, 2013

Obituary: T. Occsic Wastrel, 95

For Immediate Release:

Professor T. Occsic Wastrel, "Ollie" to his friends, passed away after a short illness Tuesday. A member of the National Academy and Chair of the Presidential Chemistry Outreach Committee, Dr. Wastrel mentored several doctoral students now ensconced in the highest echelons of chemical industry and 'Big Pharma.'

Born in Bonn, Germany in 1918, Ollie studied at the prestigious Arbeitsschuppen, from whence he received his Diplom in 1936. Nurturing a natural proclivity for synthesis (perhaps spurred on by his well-stocked basement lab), Dr. Wastrel enrolled at Harvard in 1937, earning a B.A. in 1940. His lone publication "On the Hydrolysis of Various Acid Esters" with Distinguished Professor H. Slavedriver, garnered him a Ph.D. in 1942, followed by a 6-month postdoctoral stint at MIT studying seawater gold extraction.

A "gentlemen's agreement" between his former advisor and the hiring committee resulted in Dr. Wastrel's immediate appointment at Princeton in 1943. Associations with future Manhattan Project scientists led to a life-long association with the Atomic Energy Commission (later the NRC), and thus a veritable wellspring of guaranteed future funding. Combined with the G.I. Bill and the scientific expansions of Dr. Vannevar Bush, Prof. Wastrel had a sure path to academic glory for the ensuing five decades.

During his 50+ years of active research, Prof. Wastrel would direct his learned eye towards whatever seemed reasonably likely to be funded. Later life found him traveling the world as a special guest lecturer, consulting for tobacco and mining concerns, and collecting royalties for a pivotal patent concerning the dusty residue found in cathode ray tubes. He would eventually amass 30+ peer-reviewed papers, 2 patents, and train 10 doctoral candidates.

Friends of Ollie recall his jaunty devil-may-care attitude, whether sharing a smoke by the fume hoods, or catching up with a scotch at the Faculty Club. "On Friday evenings, we would pour our synthetic waste down the sinks, incinerate our Bakelite vessels and paper trash, and head off for a spirited round of badminton," remarked E.Z. Tenyoor, who occupied the office down the hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the T. Occsic Wastrel Community Cleanup Fund.

Note for the serious: This is satire, based on this tweet from CJ.


  1. Actually, "Arbeitsschuppen" (2xs) would be the correct way to link the nouns in German. Just sayin' :)

  2. I sure miss the days of Occsic Wastrel.