Henry Ransom Cecil McBay (1914–1995) was a chemist and a teacher.One of McBay’s main goals was to pass along his love for chemistry to his students. He regularly demonstrated how two materials could be combined to produce something with completely different properties. One of his frequent demonstrations combined a metallic poison, sodium, with a gaseous poison, chlorine, to produce table salt. He wanted his students to share his fascination with such processes, which he believed to be minor miracles.In 1951, he developed a chemistry education program in Liberia on behalf of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
McBay was born “Henry Ransom McBay” (named from his maternal grandfather, Henry Ransom) in 1914 in Mexia, Texas. His father, William Cecil McBay, was a barber who eventually became an embalmer and funeral director; his mother, Roberta Ransom (McBay), was a seamstress.