July 30, 1942
Professor H.J. Lucas
I hear from Dr. Dunham that it is probable that a contract will be made with
the Institute for work on surface layers on glass and plastic. The contract itself
is based on a letter which I sent to Dr. Dunham, a copy of which is enclosed. If the
contract is made, which will be decided on August 7, it will probably be dated August
1. I suggest that, beginning August 1, you have Brockman begin making various alkyl
silicates and aluminates, to be used in the work. It would be good for you to get
hold of some samples of lucite or other plastic and carry out some experiments on
the deposition of surface layers by hydrolysis of these silicates or aluminates on
these plastics. Glass samples can be obtained from the Mt. Wilson Observatory, and
experimental work out to be begun with glass at once. I understand that the Committee
is perhaps more interested in plastics than in glass.
The work on plastics will of course in part duplicate work which Dr. Williams
has done. I think that your program cannot be discussed with Dr. Williams, without
obtaining special permission. It may well be that you should go ahead independently
anyway, since there may be such better ways of tackling the problem than those Dr.
Williams has tried.
As soon as I have talked with Dr. Dunham, I shall discuss with you the question
of whether or not to hire Dr. Brantley to work on the project until the fall term
at Occidental begins.