William Lipscomb: I was on the double-base propellants - nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose propellants.
I used to carry beakers of pure nitroglycerine in my hand, believe it or not. By
that I mean holding it like this. It means you can't bump into anything without hitting
your finger first. That's a good reason - shock. That's the way I held those beakers
of nitroglycerine. It was a dangerous project I worked on. We had more casualties
than on the average - the war. Elizabeth Swingle, for example, and a few other people,
on the larger project, not Linus's part of it.
Thomas Hager: Yeah. There was one of Linus's students, I thought, died during the war. I am trying
William Lipscomb: Elizabeth Swingle, that was not the propellants, but that was a bottle of ethyl chlorocarbonate
which exploded in her hand.
Thomas Hager: Yeah, that may have been the one.
William Lipscomb: I was directly involved in that, since she was standing at the elevator and I was
down the hall, and I got her and put her in the shower.
Thomas Hager: Oh really?
William Lipscomb: I was too late. She had already inhaled enough of it. I was the one who got the
next largest dose as I stood there holding the shower. I couldn't get away. But
anyway, that was not associated with propellants. That was one of those chemical
accidents that...ethyl chlorocarbonate, you have to remember, half the molecule is
phosgene, so it does the same thing as phosgene. It gives HCl, hydrocholoric acid,
in your lungs.