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William A. Mitchell
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    (1911-July 26, 2004)
    Born in Raymond, Minnesota
    Food scientist for General Mills (1941-76)
    Invented Pop-Rocks, Tang, quick-setting Jello and Cool Whip
    Received 70 patents
    He seems to have had a vendetta against natural foods.
    He invented Pop Rocks in 1956, but they did not go on sale for 20 years.
    A popular urban legend claimed that Mikey from the Life Cereal commercials died after combining Pop Rocks and Coke.
    He hit the road to explain that the candy was harmless, but the rumor drove the product off the shelves (1983).
    While working his way through college, he would sleep only two hours a night.
    During his first job at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Lincoln, Nebraska, the lab blew up, leaving him with second and third degree burns over most of his body.
    After retiring from General Foods, he helped develop products for his daughter's food company.
    Pop Rocks have been revived and are marketed by Zeta Espacial.

Credit: C. Fishel

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