Barrett Green developed a strong interest in science, specifically chemistry, in high school in the early 1920s. This interest took him to Cornell University, an Ivy League school located in Ithaca, New York. Cornell was well-known (even in the early 20th century) for its diversity in all fields of knowledge and its emphasis on both learning a discipline, then learning how to apply that knowledge in the “real” world.
During his undergraduate years, Green focused his attention on colloids and colloid science. (A colloid is a substance that is microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance: Colloid science is a branch of chemistry that deals with colloid solutions or colloid suspensions.) Green received his BS degree in chemistry in 1928.
Green continued his work in colloid chemistry for an additional four years as a graduate student at Cornell. His keen interest in this specific branch of chemistry and Cornell’s emphasis on applied technology seemed to provide the perfect training ground for this future inventor.