Ian J Miller was born 7th August 1942 to the son of a policeman sent to Hokitika (New Zealand) to fill vacancies due to the mass murderer Stanley Graham. Secondary education was at Ashburton High School, thence to University of Canterbury (BSc Hons1, PhD), followed by post-docs at Calgary, Southampton and Armidale. I returned to New Zealand to Chemistry Division, DSIR, to work first on lignin chemistry, then recycling, seaweed research, then hydrothermal wood liquefaction. In 1986 I left DSIR to set up Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd, to carry out research to support the private half of a joint venture to make pyromellitates, the basis of high temperature resistant plastics. (When called to a TV program to discuss the danger of foam plastics in fires, I aimed a gas torch at the palm of my hand, protected only by a piece of foam plastic I had made shortly before. Fortunately, it worked, it glowed yellow hot, but held the heat for about half a minute.) This venture, and an associated seaweed processing venture collapsed during the late 1980s financial crisis, mostly for financial reasons. Current projects include the development of Nemidon gels (www.nemidon.co.nz/) and fuels and chemicals through the hydrothermal treatment of microalgae (www.aquaflowgroup.com/). I have written about 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, about 35 other articles, and I was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008.
My honours year included acute selenium poisoning, hence many missed lectures. The subsequent "teach-yourself" had odd results. In the belief that science is simple, I tried an odd way of looking at the bonding in hydrogen; a quarter of an hour later, I had an answer. The scientific journals were not interested, because the problem is understood, and massive computer usage gives a "better" answer. (This problem is late in "Elements.., Bk 1). My PhD involved a controversy: Does cyclopropane conjugate. My results gave a firm "No" and I published a few papers giving a theory to account for all then-current observations; a review subsequently said "Yes", it ignored all the work I had found that contradicted it, and that view prevails in current text books. That, and the fact that I believe a certain amount of modern quantum mechanics is wrong is why I wrote Elements of Theory.
In my first year University, following an argument with some Arts students, I was challenged to write a fictional book. I did in spare time: Gemina. That was rejected by at least two publishers so I gave up (for a while). Subsequently I self-published a revised version, only to find publicity was forbidden as a condition of getting my finance for the pyromellitates project. Since then, I have written a few more science in fiction thriller-type novels that don't fit nicely in any category and spent I don't know how much effort not getting an agent. I shall release these in due course.
On August 23, 1968 I drove from Krakow, via Auschwitz, Cieszyn, and after the odd problem with the border guards I had lunch somewhere near Ostrava, and still not knowing what was going on, allowed some Czechs to put a Czech flag on my aerial. Unable to find somewhere to stay in Olomouc I headed west, into the dark. I dodged a tank parked in the middle of the road with black camouflage netting over it (showering the crew with stones while controlling the drift) and finally stopped in a little village. The villagers were turning around street signs in the town square, and a division was coming. The first part ignored the signs; they had maps! Now, get involved. Query 1: during a small lull, in which nothing happened, how do you divide this division? (It was divided in three here. Apparently eventually five parts drove around Bohemia/Moravia for a couple of days before reuniting, so this is a real question, and also signifies my only and undistinguished part in military history.) Query 2: You are driving to Prague, with barely enough fuel to get there. You ignore detour signs, after all, you were turning them around the night before. Then you come to a river bed, with no bridge. A real detour! Now what? You decide to drive down, flat out, you make it up the other side, drive through some trees (on a road) to find yourself at the back of a Russian army base, guarded at the front but somehow in their haste they overlooked the rear. You are seen, you have this Czech flag on your aerial, now what? Query 3: You are driving into Prague, closely followed by what I believe was a T56 You want to give the crowd something to cheer about, so what do you do? Query 4: When leaving, you are asked by a couple of Czechs to smuggle out quarter of a million signatures objecting to the invasion. How do you do that? Query 5: You have given the two Czechs a lift to the border. Your clever hiding place is undiscovered, but now what goes wrong? Why am I writing this? To let you know that when I do self-publish the fiction, it will be a little different from most of what you see now. Answers to the queries at my webpage: http://www.ianmiller.co.nz