“I Can Never Resist That Challenge” (1980)
This film is essentially a profile of Dr Tom Pressley whose research in the field of textiles makes an excellent case study of how an applied scientist operates. Few scientists are fortunate or gifted enough to finish their career on such a high note, but Tom Pressley’s work on clothing flammability as he approached retirement is an excellent example of research with practical and humanitarian benefits.
Some of his other achievements that are covered in the film are the formulation of the commercial detergent ‘Softly’, the proof that cross-infection in hospitals is not caused by wool fibres from hospital blankets, the development of a method for preventing the shrinkage and discoloration of woollen blankets during laundering, and the development of a method for making the woollen seat covers used in Jumbo jets non-flammable.
Tom is not an academic theorist but a scientist who solves the problems of industry. He says that “Science is simply commonsense, and if you tackle a problem systematically, you tackle it scientifically”.
Tom’s contribution to the textile industry was recognised by the World Textile Institute when he was awarded the outstanding Institute Medal. He has also been made a Member of the Order of Australia.