First, Elmer McCollum couldn’t get a job.
He had a doctorate from Yale, but couldn’t find work in his field. It was only after a long time searching all over the Midwest (he was from Kansas) that he even got hired.
The University of Wisconsin took him on as an instructor. But he had to switch his field of study because that was the only way he could get a position.
Then, the school wanted him to look at the diets of grain-fed cows to find out why they were dying or giving birth to malformed calves.
After all, grain contained everything that chemists, physiologists, and medical men considered essential… even thought it was obviously not enough to sustain the cattle’s lives.
But McCollum felt the cows weren’t getting enough nutrition from grain. He had to go against convention and the people who wouldn’t listen to him to find his answer. He stopped doing cattle research and set up his own lab to study nutrition in smaller animals.
It took him more than two years, but in 1913 he discovered what he called “fat-soluble A.” You and I call it vitamin A.
But that’s not the reason I’m telling you this story. The reason I want you to know about this is because this is still happening today.