Part 8: Epilogue
Sam Kistler eloquently presented the following in the Foreword to Memorabilia:
This book of my nontechnical writings has been assembled for my grandchildren primarily but also for their children and, possibly, even for their children’s children. It is also possible that I may have a few friends who would show some interest in the book, and for them I am also gathering these things together.
Immediately, I feel some embarrassment for this rather conceited act and hasten to say that I am under no delusion that I have here something superior that is worth publishing and broadcasting for the enlightenment of humanity. In spite of my denial, however, I suppose that the very act of creating this book is evidence of some measure of conceit, at least to the extent that I must believe that my descendants will take more interest in this book than they would in a headstone. In fact, I expect to have no headstone; so they will be spared a judgment on this matter.
Nearly everyone in our culture, it would seem, has an instinctive dislike for oblivion or even anonymity. This book is then, perhaps, an expression of my conflict with oblivion in spite of the certainty that oblivion must eventually win. You perceive that I have little expectation of immortality…
Samuel Stephens Kistler lived until 1975, a few short years shy of the renaissance in aerogel science and technology. How would he have felt about the many exciting new aerogel compositions, processing methods, and applications that have emerged in recent years? Surely he would have viewed these developments with the same zeal and excitement that he showed in preparing the first aerogels over seventy years ago.
Though, like all of us, he may not achieve immortality, as long as there are scientists fascinated with these amazing materials Samuel Kistler will be remembered fondly.