This book is an enthusiastic account of Pierre Laszlo's life and pioneering work on catalysis of organic reactions by modified clays, and his reflections on doing science from the 1960s to 1990s. In this autobiography, readers will discover a first-hand testimony of the chemical revolution in the second half of the 20th century, and the author's perspective on finding a calling in science and chemistry, as well as his own experience on doing science, teaching science and managing a scientific career.
During this period, Pierre Laszlo led an academic laboratory and worked also in three different countries: the US, Belgium and France, where he had the opportunity to meet remarkable colleagues. In this book, he recalls his encounters and collaborations with important scientists, who shaped the nature of chemistry at times of increased pace of change, and collates a portrait of the worldwide scientific community at that time. In addition, the author tells us about the turns and twists of his own life, and how he ended up focusing his research on clay based chemistry, where clay minerals were turned in his lab to catalysis of key chemical transformations. Given its breath, the book offers a genuine information on the life and career of a chemist, and it will appeal not only to scientists and students, but also to historians of science and to the general reader.