Don't worry, much of emulsion making is described in literature. Certainly enough is written as long as b&w emulsions are concerned. Most recent advancement is written for color photography, but some of those new techniques can be applied to b&w emulsions as well.
Kodak people may have strong internal barriers in terms of sharing information within them, but Fuji worked on research and development with huge teams, and people changed their role every 5-15 years. So many people know more than one aspect of emulsion chemistry. And Fuji (and ex-Fuji) people still publish their knowledge in scientific journals even in 2005. They are still doing basic science of silver imaging.
Also, it takes a certain kind of skill to read useful info out of patents. Patents are usually applied as a "network" around each new breakthrough, and different people have different styles. But once you get the art of patent deciphering, you'll get a lot of info from them, especially if you cross-check patents and scientific papers.
Plus, I'm not that old.
Originally Posted by Neanderman