In Work of Bill Little ’ 52
In “Research Visionary, Chemistry
Leader Called ‘A Giant’” (May/June
2009), the tribute to William F. Little ’ 52, I
am taken with the words, “He created a
culture where the coins of the realm were
wisdom and encouragement.” I know of
nothing more important than that culture,
for an individual, an organization, a family,
a nation or the world.
I think of Isaac Newton’s words:
“Truth: The offspring of silence and unbroken meditation.” We have a world sated
with facts and information; but we desperately need for that to distill to wisdom.
I knew Bill Little only casually when he
arrived at UNC in 1950. Although he was
cut for a more prominent role in our profession, I knew at that time that he was a
man “going somewhere.”
I am wondering about the William F.
Little Medicinal Chemistry Building. Is this
located in Research Triangle Park? How
dearly we need an emphasis on medicinal
chemistry and apart from that just aimed at
When I arrived at Chapel Hill in 1947 at
20 years old,Venable Hall was only 22 years
old. Now, she’s gone! Whatever her faults, I
will forever miss her; and I shall ever respect
the man for whom she was named. Bill Little carried that greatness into a new era.
C. Philip Gamble ’ 58 (BS, in chemistry)
Editor’s note: The William F. Little Medicinal Chemistry Building is in RTP. More
about it is available at
Honoring War Death
With Continued Service
I did not know Cmdr. C. Keith
Springle ’ 79 (“First Alumnus Killed in Iraq
War Dies in Clinic Shooting,” July/August
2009), but I note that we were members of
the same Carolina graduating class. He
clearly led an honorable life and is a credit
to his family, UNC and our country. His
loss underscores the terrible price our society has paid, and continues to pay, in Iraq.
I am a career foreign service officer, and
this summer the U.S. State Department
planned to transfer me to service at Camp
Victory, Baghdad, as policy adviser to a
The Godmother of Grammar / Inspired By Eve
May/June2009 /u 2 U
senior Army general. It is my privilege to honor the
service of Cmdr.
Springle, and so
many other Americans from every state of
the union who have put themselves in
harm’s way in Iraq because of their dedication to positive ideals of service, patriotism
and devotion to duty.
Alan G. Misenheimer ’ 79
Editor’s note: Prior to his new assignment
in Baghdad, Misenheimer was deputy chief of
mission in the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.
Shortage of Oil?
Or Just of Expertise?
With reference to the article “Fueling
More Than Our Cars” (May/June 2009), it
appears the conference was long on academics and environmentalists and short on
people actually in the oil and natural gas
I have been involved in the oil industry
for over 60 years. Every so often during
that time, it has been proclaimed that our
oil and natural gas resources have peaked
and woe is us. Then new technology comes
forth, such as 3-D seismic and horizontal
drilling and new fracturing techniques and,
lo and behold, the peak is extended. Our
resources are finite, of course, but a shortage of them is not in the foreseeable future.
We do need to factor in other fuel
sources as they become economically
viable without huge government subsidies.
But oil and natural gas of necessity will be
a major part of our fuel needs for decades,
along with coal. We have ample reserves of
all three, if only they are available without
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As for the political impact of oil and
natural gas on countries run by despots, this
will not change with less reliance on these
fuels but with political change from within.
Wayne Blankenship Jr. ’ 47
Smithies’ ‘Generated’ Mice
Never Come From Human Cells
I enjoy the Carolina Alumni Review, it is
a great magazine. However, after thumbing
through the November/December 2007
edition, I felt I should resolve a disturbing
Kindly direct the writer of “The First
Nobel” to identify himself and apologize
for at least one lie to the readers. Oliver
Smithies/his associate did not “make” a
mouse (although, to be fair, Smithies is trying
to do so, not cure cystic fibrosis). Presumably
God created man, Smithies and mouse. The
Smithies team stole human embryonic stem
cells, mutated them and injected the cells
into a mouse embryo. We may argue
whether the embryo became 99. 99 percent
mouse and 0.01 percent human (the mouse
did not develop cystic fibrosis in the same
way that humans do). Clearly, Smithies thinks
he can do better than God.
There are other questions: How ethical
is knocking out a mouse’s genes? How
much pain should a mouse take? What else
is Smithies doing to mice?
Evidently, the Nobel prizes are fast losing their status as a measure of humanity’s
We should also note that the British are
hurtling toward approval of the hybrid
embryo. Such are the atrocities of our time,
such the exigency for our rectification.
Dhruva R. Sen ’ 90
Editor’s note: Oliver Smithies, after being
consulted about this letter, replied that he
always has studiously avoided the terminology
“make” or “create” a mouse and that he did
not say that to the reporter, Senior Associate
Editor David E. Brown ’ 75. Smithies prefers
the term “generate,” and he compared it to
cross-pollination to produce a new variety of a
flower. “These are just manipulations,” he
said. Smithies said his lab never has used
human stem cells.