CHAUTAUQUA - Many may not immediately see the connection between Robert H. Jackson and organic chemistry, but Douglas Neckers does.
Neckers, a McMaster Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus from Bowling Green State University and Henry T. King Fellow at the Robert H. Jackson Center, spoke Tuesday during a weeklong Special Studies lecture series entitled "The Practice of Justice Jackson's Art: Talent and Responsibility in Public Communication" at Chautauqua Institution. His lecture was entitled "A Nuremberg Trial, John Heyl Vincent and Harvard Chemistry."
Neckers laid out his objectives for the lecture, which included talking about Jackson, relating him to organic chemistry, and discussing Chautauqua County.
"I'm going to tell you a little bit about how organic chemistry goes," Neckers said. "Basically what we do for a living is, we learn what God made, and then we ultimately try to improve God's creations to make them more efficient and cheaper."
During his lecture, Neckers discussed Horace Greeley, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party who resided for a time in Chautauqua County, and died in 1872. In 1877, Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht was born in Germany. Schacht's father had lived in the United States, and chose to name his son partially after Greeley. Schacht later became a supporter of Adolph Hitler, serving in Hitler's government.
During World War II, Germans cut off from Allied forces the supply of quinine, a natural drug that aids in painkilling, fever-reducing and swelling. Because of this, scientists worked to create a synthetic version of the natural drug.
Following the war, Schacht was tried at Nuremberg and was one of three acquitted of his charges. Robert H. Jackson was a chief U.S. prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. Additionally, Jackson was a Chautauquan throughout his life, is regarded as one of the finest writers to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, was a leading lawyer in private practice and was a top U.S. government official under President Franklin Roosevelt. Additionally, Roosevelt was a leading public figure and speaker in the 1930s and 1940s, and was often on nationwide radio.
The lecture series will be continuing throughout the week. Today, Larry Thompson, executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary of PepsiCo will host a lecture entitled "A Conversation with Larry D. Thompson."
Thursday, Peter Weitzel, retired managing editor of the Miami Herald will discuss "Government and Your Right to Know - The Battle Continues."
The lecture concludes Friday with James H. Mullen Jr., president of Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. Mullen's lecture is entitled: "A Conversation with Jim Mullen."
The cost of the lectures is $22 for each daily session. Access to the grounds for the lectures requires a commuter gate pass.