ICE Issue 9

29 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 History of Chemistry Articles Arie Gillon started studying chemistry at the age of 14, at the High School of Chemical Technology in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He completed his academic degrees in organic chemistry at the Technion, under the supervision of Eli Loewenthal, Shlomo Been and Dan Becker. His post-docmentor was Yitzhak Apeloig. During his DSc studies, he acted as the chairman of the Technion Junior Staff Association. In 1988, he established Bargal Analytical Instruments Ltd., which now has over 40 employees and is one of the major suppliers of scientific instruments in Israel. I learned to play chess at the age of five. My father wanted a partner to play with him, and he started to train me as soon as he thought it was possible. We played with an impressive chess set that had survived tens of years and eventually joined my chess set collection (see Figures 1 and 2). At age 14, I started studying chemistry, and soon I was wondering what the figurines were made of. They seemed to be made of plastic but, in the 1950s, the only abundant plastic The story of a chess set – a scientific detective story for Holocaust Remembrance Day Arie Gillon Bargal Analytical Instruments, 10 Shaked Street, Shoham 6085102, Israel Email: (b) (a) Figure 1. (a) The chess set, (b) some of the chess pieces. materials in Czechoslovakia were PVC and Bakelite, polymers substantially different from the half-transparent and layered material of our chess set. The question remained open for decades, until I realized that an instrument, which we purchased for our demonstration lab in Bargal Analytical Instruments, could easily give me an answer. A Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer