It is with a great deal of excitement that I learned that my wife of 41 years, Dr. Lydia Frenzel, is to receive the John Keane award at the Society of Protective Coatings meeting in Los Vegas in February. This award is the highest award that SSPC gives, and it is in recognition of a lifetime of professional service to the paint and coatings community. She has already received two Technical Achievement awards, which may make her unique in the Society’s annals, though I can’t be sure of this.
Early on in our marriage, we became interested in the problem of why paint fails. The rather incredible mythology of paint failure costs the world untold wealth each year, estimated in the many billions of dollars. It’s one of those interesting cases in which what everyone knows is so turns out to be mostly false, though the myths live on. I have watched my wife turn livid more than a few times and announce that you can’t change basic chemistry to suit your beliefs.
Next time you cross a large steel bridge, you should hope that the engineers in charge of maintenance have attended one of Lydia’s seminars or read one of her many papers.