Was there a different Stanley Ruby who was a chemist?

Was there a different Stanley Ruby who was a chemist?

When working in genealogy, you learn never to rule out the possibility of coincidence, especially when it comes to given names and surnames. Seemingly unusual names often turn out not to be unique. One of the worst rookie mistakes is to jump to the conclusion that a search hit on a name is necessarily for the person with that name that you are interested in. 

So what should we make of Stanley Ruby, a Columbia graduate student who was on assignment to the Brookhaven chemistry department in 1951-52? Is he the same person as the Stanley L. Ruby, a Columbia graduate student assigned to the Brookhaven physics department in 1952-53?

Well, if there was a chemist by that name who had any kind of professional career, we would expect to find traces of it on the Internet. It turns out there was another semi-prominent Stanley L. Ruby (L. for Lee), but he was an attorney and estate planning expert in Cincinnati. 

Searching for Stanley Ruby without a middle initial (using the minus search operator to exclude L.) returns only hits for our father, many for pages on this site. Stan Ruby also is the proprietor of a Missouri insurance agency. And "stan ruby chemistry" returns multiple mentions of the Good Girls TV series, where Stan and Ruby are characters who could be interested in each other. 

You can never be entirely certain, but I am reasonably well certain that the two Stanley Rubys at Brookhaven were one and the same. 

So, if we go with that, we have learned that Stan first came to Brookhaven to work on a project for Professor Hassialis in the Chemistry Department. Then he was able to extend his employment for a second year when he was reassigned to the Physics Department. 

Rustad, by the way, is listed as Ruby's co-author in the 1952 and '53 annual reports, but he doesn't show up on the Brookhaven staff until 1954 and 1955, when he is on assignment from Columbia to the Brookhaven Reactor Division. Then in 1956 and continuing into the next decade, he is listed with the Brookhaven Physics Department on leave from Columbia. 

So these annual reports have cleared up the dates and some circumstances of Ruby's and Rustad's employment at Brookhaven. But, as always seems to happen in these historical investigations, the new knowledge only raises additional questions.

More in the next post.