Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14

I showcase a larger proportion of singers and actors than I like in this column; it's easier to find videos, easier to give you something else to look at beside my bumbling testimonials and second-hand research. The people that are really shaping our world to come - the doctors, scientists, and philosophers that our children will study about - these are the kind of people I want to recognize and imbue, in some small way, some distinction in our pop culture-saturated attention spans.
A great example is Professor Frederik Kruger, world expert in particle discharge and DC current systems. Since the early 60's, he's invented several high voltage containment systems and components that have become global standards. His laboratory in Delft, Holland is considered the centre of knowledge in direct current research. He wrote the textbook on particle discharge, literally.
That's not all Professor Krueger writes about, however. He's published several studies of a fellow local boy done good, 17th century painter Johannes Vermeer, and the painter's use of pre-photographic technology in his art. He also identified several presumed Vermeers as forgeries, particularly by the expert forger Han Van Meegeren.
Krueger became an expert on Van Meegeren himself, writing several novels and biographies about Van Meegeren's work, his frustration as a legitimate artist, and his abilities to fool the critics and the Nazis. (You can read some of Kruger's research at this Van Meegeren website.)
When he's not playing with high voltage or identifying great art forgeries, Krueger plays out with his band, the Siperkov Ensemble, who keep alive the traditional sounds of Romany (Gypsy) music.

Of course, he's written a book about Romany music, too.

But who am I kidding? If I say it's Fred Krueger's birthday, you're probably expecting something like this:

I'm sorry, Professor...

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