RUTHERFORD ARIS, DEAD AT 76
Rutherford Aris, a well known Chemical Engineer died over the weekend. A skilled classicist, he was also a widely respected scholar of paleography, the study of ancient writing. An accomplished calligrapher, he wrote a book on the historical evolution of letter forms.
But Professor Aris did something that caught our eye, meriting mention here, on our small slice of the web. Aris was a Professor who didn’t take himself too seriously. When in the early 1970’s Who’s Who in America asked for a biography, he obliged. When a few weeks later Who’s Who asked for a biography for ARIS RUTHERFORD, he wrote them a quick note telling them they had inverted his name. His letter was ignored, and the requests kept coming. This is where Professor Aris merits enshrinement in our modest Hall of Fame.
Sensing a rare opportunity, Professor Aris submitted a biography for Professor Rutherford. And so, in the 38th edition of Who's Who in America (1974-75), Professor Aris appears twice: in Volume 1 as himself, and in Volume 2 as Aris Rutherford, who leaps to life in 16 lines on Page 2,672.
In the NY Times Obituary, both men are eulogized. You can read the whole article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/20/national/20aris.html
Here is what Who’s Who said about the often mentioned, but rarely seen Aris Rutherford:
“ Aris MacPherson Rutherford was born in Strath Spey, Scotland, on April 10, 1930, the son of Archibald MacPherson Rutherford and the former Ephygeneia Aristeides. In 1948, when he was just 18, he earned a diploma from the Strath Spey and Glenlivet Institute of Distillation Engineering. His field rewards intensive study,(hmm distillation, intensive study, and those bozos couldn't catch on?) and several advanced degrees followed.
In 1955, after a stint with the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment, Mr. Rutherford became the chief design engineer and tester for the Strath Spey Distillation Company. He came to the United States the next year.
From 1960 to 1964, when he joined the Minnesota faculty, Mr. Rutherford was a visiting professor of distillation practice at the Technological Institute of the Aegean, in Corinth.
A past trustee of the Scottish-Greek Friendship Foundation, Mr. Rutherford was active in numerous organizations, among them the Distillation Club of Edinburgh, the Burns Society of Minneapolis and the Hellenophilic Club of Minneapolis.
He wrote three books, "Sampling Techniques" (1957), "Distillation Procedures" (1963) and "American Football: A Guide for Interested Scots" (1960).” (Doesn't Ed Newman keep a copy of this tome in his chambers??)
From the NY Times Obituary: “Aris Rutherford survived only a year. When the news media got wind of the hoax, Professor Aris came clean, and Who's Who expunged his doppelgänger (we love this word, when used properly) from future editions. This cut short a promising career, for Mr. Rutherford, according to the updated entry Professor Aris had prepared, was about to publish a new book, "American Baseball: A Guide for Interested Englishmen."… Professor Aris is survived by his wife, the former Claire Holman, whom he married in whom live in England. [umm... not my error, but the NY Times dropped the ball here. Maybe we have a furture as a copy editor if they continue to lower the SAPD fee rates.]
Mr. Rutherford, who apparently never married, leaves no known survivors.”
Isn’t that last line great? Who says the NY Times doesn’t have a sense of humor (besides Donald Rumsfeld, that is)?
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