here,” and they said, “Well, can you wait until January, because
we’re opening up a new lab and we’d like you to start there.”
So I said, “Well, how do I eat between the end of August
and January?” One of the people there, who was a Brooklyn
College graduate, said to me, “Why don’t you go to Brooklyn
College?” It was just after World War II, and the soldiers were
coming back, and they were anxious to have chemists to teach
chemistry there. He said, “Why don’t you go there for one
semester, until the end of January, and then you can come to
work?” So I called up Brooklyn College, told them I had a master’s degree in chemistry, and they hired me immediately over
the phone. They were so hungry for chemistry teachers. So I
went there for 6 months and stayed for 65 years.
I had a lab there, and I started doing research on surfactants. First I did work on analyzing them because I was teaching a course in the analysis of organic compounds, so I used
the methods that we were using there to analyze surfactants.
Then I started to work on the physical chemistry of surfactants
and, essentially, why and how they work. And that’s where
I got started on the major work that I did, which was struc-ture-property relationships in surfactants. So it all came about
because I didn’t get a job at the other company.
Q:What would you say were your biggest scientific contri- butions to the field of surfactants and detergents?
Well, it was generally the knowledge of the relationship of
the chemical structure of surfactants to how they work. So we
now know how surfactants work and why they work, and what
structures do what, and what other structures do other things,
but basically that’s the work that was my research for all those
Q:As you know, in 2017 we’re celebrating the 20th anni- versary of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents.
Do you have a favorite or most memorable paper that you
published in JSD?
I just learned that when JSD was first formed, I had the
first paper that was published by them, on page 1 of the first
edition [Zhu, Y.-P., Rosen, M. J., and Morrall, S. W. (1998)
“Chemical structure/property relationships in surfactants. 17
N-substituted-N-acyl glycinates in pure and synthetic hard
river water,” JSD 1: 1–9].
Among my more recent papers over the last 20 years,
I’d say that the paper on gemini surfactants [Rosen, M. J.,
and Tracy, D. J. (1998) “Gemini surfactants,” JSD 1: 547–554]
AOCS Fellow Milton J. Rosen in his lab at Brooklyn College.