The 2,215th Meeting of the Society

January 12, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Retiring President's Lecture

The Mystery of Iron

Bill Saalbach

Senior Electrical Engineer
Alion Science and Technology Corporation
Retiring President

About the Lecture

Before recorded history, man discovered the art of smelting metals, culminating in the production of iron. Starting from a total lack of metallurgical knowledge, why would they even start the search? How did they succeed? Because there are no written records, archaeological theories have sometimes been little more than speculation. Reenactments of the ancient smelting processes permit experimental testing of these theories. We now have a fair picture of the path these early explorers took. This lecture will trace that path, with some observations of where the footprints are clear or where they remain muddy.

About the Speaker

BILL SAALBACH received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. From there, he was selected by Admiral Rickover to serve on the headquarters staff of the Naval Reactors program. He received a Reactor Engineering Certificate from the Design School at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. At Naval Reactors, he managed programs for research, design, and procurement of auxiliary components and corrosion technology. Subsequently, he served in the Naval Sea Systems Command in diesel propulsion engineering. For the past eight years, he has worked at JJMA, Inc., now Alion Science and Technology Corporation, as a Senior Electrical Engineer supporting the Navy in aircraft carrier overhaul planning.

He received apprentice training in blacksmithing under Brad Silberberg at the Blacksmith’s Guild of the Potomac.