Browse Oral Histories Alphabetically

Madeleine Jacobs grew up in Washington, DC, the younger of two children. Her father was a musician, her mother a secretary. The television program Watch Mr. Wizard convinced her she wanted to be a scientist, in particular a chemist. She matriculated into George Washington University with a full scholarship. After college, Jacobs began a master's program at the University of Maryland, but quit after a year. She had always loved writing and wrote extremely well, so she applied for a job with Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). After a short stint as a writer at National Institutes of Health, she spent five years as a science writer, and then became head of media relations and publications at the National Bureau of Standards. From that position, Jacobs' career took her to the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Public Affairs, beginning as science writer and ending as its Director. After fourteen years at the Smithsonian, Jacobs returned to C&EN  to become managing editor. After one and a half years, she became editor-in-chief, a title she held for eight and a half additional years. At C&EN , she reawakened her interest in women in chemistry. She initiated "The Scorecard" to document the progress of women on chemistry faculties. Finding this scorecard effective in making faculties sit up and take notice on the disparity between the number of male and female professors, she began a scorecard for industry. After ten years at C&EN, Jacobs became the first woman and first person without a PhD to become Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society, the position she holds today.

Tykee James was born on January 21, 1994, at Temple Hospital in North Philadelphia. He soon moved with his parents to the Fort Irwin Army Base in the High Mojave Desert of California. In 2000, after his parents’ separation, he moved with his mother and brothers to Racine, Wisconsin, where Tykee began Latin dancing. In 2009 his family then moved to northwestern Texas. In Texas, Tykee played football, competed regionally with a Latin dance team, and argued on the debate team. In 2011, just before his senior year of high school, he returned with his family to Philadelphia. On arriving in West Philadelphia, Tykee suffered a severe asthma attack that forced his hospitalization and ignited his concern for clean air. On recovery Tykee attended Motivation High School and, as a subcontractor with the Philadelphia Water Department, became a public educator and naturalist with Cobbs Creek Environmental Center. Now a student at Temple University, Tykee is pursuing a degree in communications with a focus on rhetoric and public advocacy. He also works as a legislative aid to the Honorable Donna Bullock, who represents Philadelphia’s 195th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Theodore S. Jardetzky was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Both of his parents were scientists, his father later a faculty member at Stanford. In addition to music, he also had a longtime interest in mathematics and science, and had influential teachers in chemistry and biology. Jardetzky matriculated at Stanford University in order to explore both science and the humanities. He worked in his father's lab, researched the structure of the acetylcholine receptor, and met Kasper Kirschner, with whom Jardetzky decided to work at University of Basel, Switzerland, for his graduate studies. There, Jardetzky looked at the kinetics and equilibrium binding of enzyme reactions. He is now at Northwestern University, where he researches structure of membrane proteins, properties of protein structure, and organization of cellular structures.

Gail P. Jarvik was raised in Mount Prospect, Illinois. She had an early interest in nature, reading, and math, and several influential teachers. She matriculated at the University of Iowa, majoring in zoology. She began her medical training at Iowa, but James Hanson, the head of pediatric genetics, encouraged her to pursue her PhD at University of Michigan. There, Jarvik worked on fetal hydantoin syndrome. Next, she went to University of Pennsylvania where she collaborated with Terri Beaty from Johns Hopkins University on hyperlipidemia. She then took a postdoc at University of Washington, under Ellen M. Wijsman, and went on to accept a position at the University of Washington Medical Center. She discusses public awareness of genetic research, ethical questions, advantages of competition, and more.

Steven D. Jellinek received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree in public affairs from Syracuse University. After several years at the Internal Revenue, he became the first Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances at the US Environmental Protection Agency, and soon the Assistant Administrator for Pesticides and Toxic Substances. TSCA was written with many procedural hurdles and there were many challenges in implementing the new law: no inventory rule and no classificatory system for chemicals; interagency politics that had to be negotiated; little statutorial guidance for prioritizing exiting chemicals, or even defining a chemical of concern; and no technologies of risk assessment or toxicity testing. Jellinek inherited what was considered an inefficient organizational structure in the Office of Toxic Substances. The premanufacturing review process was one of the few immediate successes; industry seemed to really internalize the goal of safer new chemicals. 

For more information on Marc Jenkins, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

Fore more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

Robert T. "Ted" Jenkins begins his oral history by discussing his early life and his years at California Institute of Technology, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees. Jenkins was recruited by Gordon Moore to work for Fairchild Semiconductor and left a short time later to follow Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce to Noyce-Moore Electronics, later called Intel. Jenkins reflects on his lengthy career at Intel and his work on blue LED, early microprocessor chips, and other products.

Keith R. Jennings begins his oral history by discussing his youth and education in the United Kingdom, including his chemistry studies at University of Oxford, where he worked with Jack Wilfrid Linnett, and his postdoctoral position with Robert Cevetanovic at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. Jennings took a position at the University of Sheffield and moved on to the University of Warwick. Jennings reflects on his lengthy career at the University of Warwick, his research on mass spectrometry and the field of mass spectrometry in general, and his notable collaborators and peers.

Stephen L. Johnson was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. While studying writing at Vanderbilt University, he worked in Lee Limbird's pharmacology lab, though he was still unsure if science suited him. Ultimately he decided to pursue science and joined the genetics department at University of Washington, where he worked under Breck Byers on fusing Cdc4 and LAC-Z genes in yeast. He was also mentored by Leland H. Hartwell. Upon finishing graduate studies, Johnson worked on zebrafish with James A. Weston and Charles A. Kimmel at University of Oregon, researching tissue regeneration mutants, pigment patterns, isometric growth, and genetic mapping. He also developed inbred strains and centromere markers for mapping the zebrafish genome. Johnson then accepted a position at Washington University School of Medicine to continue his work.

John W. Johnstone begins his oral history with a discussion of his early life and education, including a bachelor's degree in chemistry and physics from Hartwick College. Johnstone began his career at Hooker Chemical Company as a sales representative, but quickly moved up the ranks and became Group Vice President before leaving the company for Airco Inc. Johnstone joined Olin Corporation in 1979, where he worked for successful re-engineering and expansion of the company and addressed rising environmental concerns; Johnstone concludes the interview by discussing the future of research and development in the chemical industry.

Jean C. Jones discusses how she began working at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation and her early interactions with Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. Jones became full-time secretary for Fairchild and made the move to Intel Corporation. Jones describes her daily work at Fairchild and Intel and her interactions with Moore, Noyce, and Andrew Grove, among others.

For more information on Katherine Jones, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences

For more information on this oral history, please contact the Director of the Center for Oral History. 

R. Victor Jones matriculated into the University of California, Berkeley and entered the lab of Walter Knight, where he worked in the new field of nuclear magnetic resonance. He continued into graduate school at Berkeley and worked in Carson Jeffries's lab, where his thesis work dealt with electron transport in a molecular afterglow. As he was finishing his thesis work, William Shockley began an aggressive recruitment of Jones until he finally accepted Shockley's offer of a job at the new Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. Shockley believed semiconductors were the wave of the future, and he espoused diffused-base technology. Jones was put to work on the four-layer diode. From the outset, lab work was compartmentalized and Shockley frequently changed the goals of the lab. Uncomfortable in the high-stress atmosphere of the lab and wanting to work with his primary interest, electromagnetic theory, Jones decided after only two years to look for work in the academy, ultimately acceptaing a position at Harvard University. He spent almost fifty years there, teaching electronics.

Madeleine M. Joullié begins her interview by describing her early life and education in Brazil followed by her higher education in the United States, with a bachelor's degree at Simmons College and master's and doctoral degrees in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was advised by Allan R. Day. Joullié discusses her career in the organic chemistry department at the University of Pennsylvania, including her thoughts on teaching, her students, and her work with Mildred Cohn to implement affirmative action guidelines that led to more hiring of women and minorities to tenure-track positions at Penn. Additionally, Joullié discusses her consulting work, her research, and chemistry textbooks, including Organic Chemistry , which Joullié co-authored with Day.

William H. Joyce discusses his interest in chemistry, which led to a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and the influence of his parents, which led to interest in business and an MBA and PhD from New York University. Joyce had a lengthy career at Union Carbide, where he rose from Product Development Engineer to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and made several contributions to the field, including the UNIPOL process for creating high-density polyethylene. Joyce reflects on the chemical industry, his philosophy to being successful in a large corporation, and his work for the Nalco Company.

David J. Julius was born and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He was interested early in the sciences, although he did not particularly enjoy school. He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his BS in 1977. He then obtained his PhD from University of California at Berkeley in 1984. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research at Columbia University, then an associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1989 he became assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he remains. Julius's major areas of interest include yeast genetics, the secretory pathway, Xenopus and Aplysia, neurobiology, electrophysiology, mouse genetics, and the serotonin receptor.