Matthew K. Waldor grew up near Newark, New Jersey, and attended Yale University. He had his first real research experience at Woods Hole Science Center working on neural systems in the leech nervous system. His interest in scientific research piqued, Waldor sought out research while in medical school at Stanford and ended up in Larry Steinman's laboratory studying autoimmunity in the nervous system, specifically developing mouse models. After his residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Waldor began a fellowship in infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and then a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, researching a new strain of epidemic cholera. From there he accepted a position at Tufts University, conducting research in microbial genetics and infectious diseases studying phage replication, regulation, and antibiotic resistance. Waldor discusses the requirements of scientific practice and the ways in which he balances his career with his family life; his professional goals; his process for writing journal articles; and a typical workday. The interview ends with reflections on the privatization of scientific research; gender and ethnic issues in science; and the role of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant in his laboratory.
Frederick Wall begins with a discussion of his family background and childhood in Minnesota, attending the University of Minnesota, and studying chemistry and chemical engineering. After a stint at Caltech with Linus Pauling, Wall moved back to the University of Minnesota and earned his PhD in 1935. At the University of Illinois he worked on infrared spectroscopy, gradually becoming interested in polymers. During World War II he volunteered to work on the rubber problem. In 1963, Wall moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara, and later the University of California, San Diego. In 1969, he became executive director of the American Chemical Society (ACS), but soon rejoined academia, becoming professor of chemistry at Rice University.
Cheves Walling begins his oral history interview by describing his family and education at Harvard and the University of Chicago, stressing the major review article on the peroxide effect that he and Frank Mayo wrote in 1940. Walling next examines the research that he undertook at DuPont, US Rubber, and Lever Brothers, emphasizing the work that he did before 1950 at US Rubber. Finally, Walling examines his academic career at Columbia and the University of Utah. Throughout the interview he reflects upon the emergence and maturation of physical organic chemistry.
John C. Warner begins his oral history interview discussing his family, his high school interest in science. He enrolled in Indiana University in 1915, where he received his AB in chemistry in 1919, his MA in 1920, and his PhD in 1923. In 1926, he joined the faculty of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he spent the rest of his career, rising to become president of in 1950. Warner concludes the interview with a discussion of his family and reflections on his role in the advanced educational development in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Earl L. Warrick begins his oral history interview with a description of his childhood, which involved frequent moves between cities, and remembering a seventh grade teacher who inspired his interest in chemical engineering by having him build a one-tube radio. While at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Warrick was disappointed by the chemical engineering and switched to physical chemistry, in which he received a master's degree. Warrick describes his experiences at the Mellon Institute, where he developed a glass coating. He received his ScD for a kinetic study carried out almost exclusively on nights and weekends. While at Dow Corning, Warrick helped develop rubber, polymer, and silicone research including the famous Silly Putty. He mentions the influence of several colleagues, especially McGregor, Collings, Hyde, Bass, and Speier. Warrick concludes by commenting on his position at Saginaw Valley State College, his current writing, and the changes that have occurred in chemistry throughout his career.
Wilma M. Wasco was raised in Fairfield, Connecticut. While at University of Connecticut, she worked for Guillermo Fallar, a neuroscientist, and Ian McClellan, biochemist, Wanting to study molecular pharmacology, she attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she conducted research with George A. Orr and published her first paper. She then took a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Frank Solomon on microtubular-associated proteins, specifically identifying and characterizing amyloid precursor-like protein 1 (APLP1); during her studies she received a National Research Service Award. Wasco became a research fellow, and then an assistant professor at Harvard University, researching neuronal cell death in normal and neurodegenerative cells with implications for Alzheimer's disease research, and becoming an assistant geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
James L. Waters begins by discussing his family history and the emigration of his ancestors from England to Massachusetts in 1638. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1925, Waters describes himself as an independent child. During high school, Waters' father was offered a position that took the Waters family to Framingham, Massachusetts. As part of the Navy's V-12 program, Waters studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University, before being discharged and transferring to the University of Nebraska. Shortly after accepting a position at Baird Associates Inc., Waters decided the time was right to start his own instrumentation company. At just twenty-two, Waters founded James L. Waters, Inc., in his parents' basement. Waters' sheer determination to succeed enabled him to overcome the many obstacles that occurred while working on his first instrument, an infrared gas analyzer. He then began to delve into the field of gel permeation chromatography. Waters Associates merged with Millipore Inc. in 1977.
Jason D. Weber grew up in Edwardsville, Illinois, and attended Bradley University to study biotechnology, a new field that was to become what is now molecular biology. A radiation biology class led him into the study of cancer and tumor suppression. He loved working in the lab and knew he wanted to do that for his career. Before entering graduate school he spent a year and a half at Monsanto, working on Celebrex in Peter Isakson's lab. For his PhD he went into St. Louis University's cell and molecular biology program, where Joseph Baldassare became his mentor, working on the cell cycle and publishing five papers in addition to his thesis. He is now an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
Philip B. Wedegaertner grew up in Stockton, California, and attended University of California, Davis. He had opportunities to work with James W. Blankenship in the School of Pharmacy at University of the Pacific and in Donald M. Carlson's laboratory. Wedegaertner pursued graduate work in biochemistry at University of California, San Diego. There he worked with Gordon N. Gill synthesizing and characterizing the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor. Wedegaertner took a postdoc with Claude Cochet in Grenoble, France. After another postdoc at University of California, San Francisco, he accepted a position at Thomas Jefferson University, continuing work on G proteins. Wedegaertner explores the history of science, tenure, competition and collaboration, the national scientific agenda, privatization of research, and lessons learned becoming a principal investigator.
Ruth Weeks was born and raised in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Weeks was one of seven children; her parents worked locally. Her neighborhood was racially mixed. When Weeks was growing up, Ambler was much more of a small, family-owned businesses community. She remembers sledding down the “White Mountains,” not realizing the impact the asbestos factory would have on people living there. Weeks married her high-school sweetheart. They moved to Germany for her husband’s military service. After five years, Weeks returned to Ambler. Weeks attended classes at the Lansdale School of Business while raising her children. Wise helped establish Citizens for a Better Ambler (CBA) to fight a proposed high-rise on Ambler’s asbestos area. With the involvement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in remediation of the site, the CBA developed into a community advisory group (CAG), and the ensuing debate over remediation caused a split between those who advocated total removal of asbestos, and those who wanted capping. Weeks discusses the redevelopment of Ambler and how much it has changed since she was a student. She hasn’t seen much assistance from the EPA and Penn to truly identify the continued risk and conditions of Ambler; she believes that asbestos is still the “white elephant” in the room.
William Weis was born in Queens, New York. As a child, he especially liked mathematics and science. In high school he took two science classes every year and was on the math team. Weis attended Princeton where he studied biochemistry and discovered spectroscopy, writing his graduation thesis on rhodopsin spectroscopy. At Harvard for graduate school, Weis found Don Wiley's crystallography lab perfect and worked on influenza hemagglutinin. Next, he spent a year at Yale, working on simulated annealing, getting a better model of hemagglutinin. From there he went to Columbia University Medical Center, where he spent four years studying the structure of C-type lectins using MAD phasing. Now at Stanford, he manages a lab, and enjoys writing and teaching.
Alison A. Weiss grew up in Wisconsin. Weiss chose to attend Washington University in St. Louis, where she worked on bacteria in Simon Silver’s lab. She enjoyed the University, Silver’s lab, her independence, and the work, ultimately staying on as a technician for a three years. Weiss began graduate school in Stanley Falkow’s lab at the University of Washington; soon thereafter the lab moved to Stanford University. Her dissertation dealt with Bordetella pertussis, and she cloned a pertussis toxin. After two years as a postdoc at the University of Virginia (UVA) Weiss was recruited to UVA’s medical school, Virginia Commonwealth University.
John H. Weiss grew up in San Francisco, California and attended Stanford University, to study biology and neuroscience. While at Stanford University School of Medicine, uncertainty prevented him from seeking a lab position. During his residency, he met Dennis W. Choi and entered the Stanford PhD program in neuroscience. In the Choi lab he began work on mechanisms of nerve cell degeneration in stroke and on glutamate's toxic effect on nerve cells. Research on nerve degenerative diseases on Guam led Weiss to study ß-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). He discovered that BMAA's toxicity depends on a covalent interaction with other compounds. Now at University of California, Irvine, he discusses setting up his lab, research, and collaboration with other scientists.
Gerald Weissmann was born in Austria, but when young, he and his family fled the Nazis, eventually ending up in New York City. After earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Columbia College, Weissmann, entered medical school at New York University. Having opted for a research career, he completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital and became chief resident at Bellevue Hospital. In the mid-1960s, Weissmann, along with close friend, Alec D. Bangham, discovered liposomes, and in 1982 founded The Liposome Company, which received FDA approval for the drugs Abelcet and Myocet. In speaking about the origins of the Pew Biomedical Scholars Program, Weissmann contrasts the Pew funding with larger funding bodies like the NIH, Weissmann, extolling the benefits of funding creative young scientists.
Paul Weisz begins by discussing his family background in Austria-Hungary after World War I, when his family moved to Berlin. Weisz was educated in the Gymnasium, where he developed an interest in physics and chemistry. He attended the Technical University in Berlin and spent his free time in the laboratory of Wolfgang Kohlhoerster at the Institute of Cosmic Radiation Research, where he worked on Geiger counter instrumentation and cosmic ray measurements. Because of Hitler's rise to power, Weisz arranged an exchange program with Auburn University, earning his BS in physics in 1940. At the Bartol Research Foundation in Pennsylvania, Weisz worked on radiation counting and projects relating to the National Research Defense Council. After gaining clearance to do classified work, he moved to the MIT Radiation Laboratory where he helped to develop a long range navigation trainer (Loran). He accepted a position with Mobil Corporation, where he worked on catalysis. In 1966, he completed his ScD at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule in Zürich, where he had worked with Heinrich Zollinger on dye chemistry. Weisz concludes the interview by discussing innovation in industry, the importance of interdisciplinary thinking, and his later work on Alzheimer's Disease and angiogenesis.
For more information on Rodney Welch, 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.
The interview begins with Frank Westheimer discussing his family, his undergraduate days at Dartmouth, and his choice of Harvard for graduate work. He talks about his research with James Conant, Elmer Kohler, and his early interest in biochemistry in the mid-1930s. Westheimer continues with the offer of a position at the University of Chicago from Morris Kharasch. The interview concludes with more discussion of physical organic chemistry, a review of his work on the hydrolysis of phosphate esters and pseudorotation; comments on the future of organic chemistry; and a review of the Westheimer Report, the analysis of American chemistry by the National Academy of Sciences.
Judith M. White grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attending Franklin and Marshall College as a member of its first coeducational class; she was the only female chemistry major. Carl Pike, her biology teacher and lab supervisor, inspired her interest in biology. She spent two summers doing research, first at University of Rochester, and then at Bryn Mawr College. For graduate school White chose the biophysics program at Harvard University, again the only woman in her class. She completed her thesis work in Don Wiley’s lab, intrigued by the ability of viruses to insert their DNAs into cells. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), recruited White to help build a cell biology program. She still focuses on membranes but with a broader scope that includes a virological/pharmacological perspective. While working on the Semliki Forest virus, White discovered the importance of pH in surface fusion or lack thereof.
For more information on Alexander Whitehead, 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.
Torsten N. Wiesel was born near Stockholm, Sweden. He attended medical school at Karolinska Institute and worked there before coming to the United States as a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University. There he worked on epilepsy. One of his brothers had become schizophrenic, which prompted Torsten's interest in neuroscience. Working in Kuttler's lab, he dealt with retinal ganglion receptive fields/responses to light stimulation, using cats and monkeys as his lab animals. David Hubel arrived at Hopkins, and the two men began a very long collaboration that in 1981 garnered them the Nobel Prize. In 1983, after Torsten had been chairman for ten years, he moved to Rockefeller University and became president. He is now Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Program in Strasbourg.
Paul A. Wilks, Jr., begins by discussing his early years and family life in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Springfield Technical High School, Wilks went to Harvard University, where he majored in engineering. In 1945, he began working at Perkin-Elmer, Inc., becoming marketing director in 1952. In 1957, Wilks left Perkin-Elmer and, with Charles W. Warren, founded the Connecticut Instrument Company, a company that manufactured accessories for the infrared industry. Later Wilks formed the Wilks Scientific Corporation, which manufactured a variety of spectroscopy products. Wilks founded the General Analysis Corporation. He retired in 1993 and General Analysis was eventually sold to OI Corporation. Although theoretically retired, Wilks started another company in the 1990s, Wilks Enterprise, Inc. This company continues Wilks' efforts to produce applicable products based on infrared spectroscopy and other technologies. Wilks concludes the interview with reflections on the state of infrared technology and thoughts about his career.
R. Stanley Williams begins by discussing Sputnik's influence on his decision to study science. After a positive experience in high school, Williams found himself not as prepared in comparison to his peers at Rice University, where he was mentored in microwave spectroscopy by Professor Robert Curl. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Williams worked at Hewlett-Packard on photoelectron spectrometers. He worked on photoemission while pursing his graduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his PhD, Williams accepted a position at Bell Laboratories as staff scientist. Disliking the corporate culture at Bell, he moved to University of California, Los Angeles, and very quickly built up a large research lab, which studied photoemission, ion scattering, STM, and finally AFM. After the earthquake in 1994 destroyed most of his instruments, Williams returned to HP and started a research initiative that eventually evolved into the Quantum Science Research Laboratory (QSR): nano electronics. QSR's four research areas include: nano photonics; nano mechanics; and nano architecture. Williams concludes the interview by offering his thoughts on outside collaboration and funding, the importance of micro-electro-mechanical systems to HP, and how he views QSR in relations to other research institutions.
Trevor Williams was born in Wolverhampton, England. A class with Tony Minson at Cambridge piqued his interest in virology. After his second year he won a research fellowship to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he worked on herpes virus in James McDougall's lab. The next year his interest in the molecular genetics of cancer as related to viruses led him to spend a summer fellowship in Joe Sambrook's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Subsequently, Trevor moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, where he began his PhD studies with Michael Hayman, but later switched to Michael Fried's lab to study cell enhancers. Shifting from virology to molecular biochemistry, he accepted a postdoc in Robert Tjian's lab at University of California, Berkeley. Realizing that science in the United States provided a more comprehensive market for all kinds of research, Williams decided not to return to Britain. He accepted an assistant professorship at Yale, where he is now an associate professor.
Jalyn Williams was born in Philadelphia in January 2001. She has lived in West Philadelphia, in Upper Darby, and in Chester. Jalyn is an honors student at Central High School in Philadelphia, a four-year college preparatory magnet school consistently ranked among the top schools in Pennsylvania and one of the oldest public schools in the United States. When not studying or volunteering for local environmental causes, Jalyn enjoys playing video games and has a passion for equality.
J. Lawrence Wilson begins his oral history interview with a discussion of his childhood in Rosedale, Mississippi, and education at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana. After high school, he received a Naval Reserves Officer Training Corps scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, where he majored in mechanical engineering. Wilson graduated in 1958, and he then served in the Navy for several years, stationed in Bermuda. When he returned, Wilson attended Harvard Business School, receiving his MBA in 1963. Two years later, he joined Rohm and Haas Company. Wilson discusses his views on scientific innovation, his time in Europe, and the changes in Rohm and Haas and the chemical industry, in general, over the past three decades. Wilson concludes the interview with a discussion of the chemical industry's environmental concerns, Rohm and Haas's acquisition of Morton International, his work with the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and his family.
Thomas E. Wilson grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin. While his father, a chemical engineer, often brought work-related discussions home, his mother, a teacher, also encouraged the academic environment of the household. During undergrad, Wilson was involved in the Medical Scholars Program, pursued biology research with Charles B. Kaspar, and built musical instruments. He then decided upon a MD/PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis, where he could continue his interest in medicine but pursue a laboratory research program as well. Joining Jeffrey D. Milbrant's laboratory, Wilson undertook a DNA binding project that allowed him to collaborate with yeast geneticist Mark Johnston. After his residency and postdoc, Wilson joined the University of Michigan pathology department, which allows him laboratory opportunities while maintaining ties to the clinical world.
E. Bright Wilson, Jr., begins his oral history interview with a description of his family, early education, and his undergraduate and graduate studies at Princeton University, where he was inspired by the intellectual atmosphere and affable faculty. After reviewing the curriculum, his senior thesis on quantum mechanics, and his experience at Tuxedo Park, he recalls his years at the California Institute of Technology, where he began work with vibration and group theory. Next, he describes his work at Harvard, focusing on advances in spectroscopy, and his government research at Woods Hole and in Washington, DC. Wilson concludes with a brief profile of his family and a few remarks on his publications.
Jeffrey Wilusz grew up in South Amboy, New Jersey, and attended Rutgers. He found thinking through scientific issues similar to solving puzzles. Wilusz became interested in virology and began graduate work at Duke University, where Jack Keene and Thomas Shenk became his mentors. Lessons learned in Keene's lab helped Wilusz identify a leader RNA that binds to La protein. He began the sequencing of Ebola virus-identified RNA structural regions that recognize antibodies, and began studying VA RNA in the Shenk lab. Wilusz soon took a position at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he continued to pursue his interest in RNA research. He discusses pursuing diverse lines of research in a lab, conference presentations, publishing, funding, and trends in the biomedical sciences.
Mark Winey was born in Chicago, Illinois. His initial interest in genetics resulted from his younger sister's galactosemia. In high school, he took many science classes and began his enduring love of the outdoors. While at Syracuse University, he also took advantage of SUNY Stony Brook's nearby forestry school, though he majored in biology. A microbiology class convinced him to focus on yeast, which he still loves for its genetics and application to the study of human disease. He attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, then went to the University of Washington for a postdoc to study centrosomes. Next, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Colorado. He continues to research MPS1, MPS2, and NDC1 and work with students.
Florine Wise was born in her grandmother’s house and grew up in West Ambler, Pennsylvania. Although Wise was aware of asbestos exposure, she occasionally went sledding down the asbestos piles. Wise attended local parochial schools and graduated from Wissahickon High School; she worked as a legal typist/assistant for the Montgomery County Courthouse. She notes the issues in a development plan and side effects of gentrification. Wise discusses the closure of West Ambler’s park, and the shortcomings of the new one. Wise helped establish Citizens for a Better Ambler (CBA) to fight a proposed high-rise on Ambler’s asbestos area. With the advent of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the CBA developed into a community advisory group (CAG), and the ensuing debate over remediation caused a split between those who advocated total removal of asbestos, and those who wanted capping. Wise points out that removal of asbestos would mean many years of continuous truck traffic, with uncontrolled asbestos exposure, and increased flooding, all in the African-American neighborhoods. Wise says things are going well with the CAG, and she is now the head of the environmental justice committee of the CAG. She emphasizes the importance of communication among citizens and believes that a community center would expedite such communication in Ambler.
William Wishnick begins his oral history interview by describing his parents' careers and the founding of the Wishnick-Tumpeer Chemical Company in 1920. His father's company, now called Witco, expanded with the acquisition of several domestic arid international companies and went public in 1958. After serving in the military and completing his education, Wishnick began working for the company in 1949 until his retirement in 1990. Wishnick discusses company growth, the diversification of product lines, and how the nature of doing business has changed over the years.
Harland G. Wood's oral history begins with a brief discussion of his role in the restructuring of Western Reserve University's medical curriculum. He then reflects on his childhood and education, and first interest in chemistry. He chronicles his career in chemistry and molecular biology from his college years through his extensive laboratory research at Iowa State College, where he first developed his concept of the fixation of carbon dioxide by bacteria. Throughout the interview, in addition to discussing research and the influence of various colleagues and associates, he often focuses on the numerous advancements that have occurred during his lifetime and their impacts (both positive and negative) on the way laboratory research is conducted. He concludes with his thoughts on the future of science, stressing the importance of continued enthusiasm and motivation in scientists of all ages.
Sarah A. Woodson was born in Warren, Michigan. Though her father believed that women had a subservient place in society and should not work, Woodson's mother helped her get into Kalamazoo College, where she studied chemistry. After spending a year at a lab in France, she began working in Morton Rabin's lab at Wayne State University. Next, she went to Yale University, where she studied nucleic acids using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. After five years there, she spent three years as a postdoc with Thomas Cech at University of Colorado. There she studied RNA, discovering reverse self-splicing. She is now a professor at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches, runs her lab, publishes, and mentors lab members.
Edgar Woolard begins with a description of his family and childhood years in Washington, North Carolina. Woolard enrolled in North Carolina State University as a nuclear engineering major. In his junior year, he switched his major to industrial engineering; he received his BS in 1956, and accepted a position at Alcoa in Maryville, Tennessee. After a six-month stint in the US Army, Woolard was offered a job at DuPont, where he was shortly promoted into management. He entered DuPont's Planning Division in 1976, where he oversaw many breakthroughs in DuPont polymers, especially Dacron production. In 1983, Woolard was given responsibility for three departments: Agricultural Chemicals Division, Medical Division, and Photo Products Division. He served in that capacity for three years before becoming Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, then CEO in 1987. Woolard received the Chemical Industry Medal in 1998. He concludes the interview with a discussion of DuPont's major achievements during his career, retirement, and thoughts on his family.
John Wotiz begins a description of his family and childhood years in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, attending Technical University of Prague, and studying chemical engineering. Wotiz and his brother left Czechoslovakia for the United States in 1939. Wotiz received a scholarship to attend Furman University, where he completed his BS degree in chemistry in 1941. While working towards his PhD, Wotiz served in the US Army as a lieutenant in the Chemical Warfare Service. After receiving his PhD in organic chemistry from Ohio State University in 1948, Wotiz accepted an instructor position with the University of Pittsburgh. He left in 1957 to become a research supervisor at Diamond Alkali Company, but he returned to Marshall University in 1962. In 1967, Wotiz assumed the chemistry department chairmanship at Southern Illinois University. In 1969, Wotiz made an extended study of chemistry education in the Soviet Union under an exchange arrangement between the National Academy of Sciences and the USSR Academy of Sciences.
Hao Wu grew up in China, during which time her family was separated and forced to relocate to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. Despite this turmoil, Wu excelled in school. She enrolled in Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, a highly selective, combined eight year bachelor's and medical degree program founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, where she took courses taught in English and a semester of immunology research which piqued her interest in laboratory work. At an international biochemistry meeting, Wu discovered the structural biology research of Michael Rossmann, and after some difficulty obtaining her visa, Wu began the PhD program at Purdue University joining Rossmann's laboratory. She ultimately joined the faculty at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Shortly after beginning at Cornell, Wu received the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences Award. This fellowship helped her solve structures and perform the initial work necessary in order to receive a National Institutes of Health grant. During the oral history, Wu discussed her research group's work on TRAF and AIF and the difficulties associated with the funding of crystallographic research. She also touched on the current struggle between basic and translational science; competition from other laboratories; the complexities of balancing family and work; and the difficulties women in science face.
Kurt Wüthrich begins by discussing the emergence of his interest in chemistry during his high school years. He remained interested in the sciences while at University of Basel and divided his time between sports, physics, and chemistry, and in March 1964 he received his PhD in chemistry, doing research with an electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer [EPR] to study the catalytic action of metal compounds. After receiving his PhD, he undertook post-doctoral reserach at University of California, Berkeley on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In 1969, he returned to Switzerland to work at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. He concludes his interview by discussing his continued research in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as a Professor of Biophysics at ETH Zürich and a Professor of Structural Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.
George M. Wyman was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1921. Wyman attended the Lutheran Gimnázium in Budapest until World War II threatened, when he left for the United States to become a chemist. Wyman entered Cornell University as a sophomore finishing his degree in two and a half years. He remained at Cornell for his master's and PhD degrees, working on fluorine chemistry. His research interests fell between the fields of physical and organic chemistry. Wyman began his career in industry working with fluorine compounds and developed his expertise in dye chemistry. During his years at the National Bureau of Standards, Wyman conducted various spectrophotometric measurements of indigo and azo dyes, resulting in some twenty publications. In a decades-long career working for the US Army, Wyman taught himself fluorescence techniques and continued his work on isomerization of dyes. Working for the Army's European Research Office, he identified and established networks of chemists whose work could be useful to the Army. Returning from Europe, Wyman was able to conduct research at University of North Carolina. In the 1960s, Wyman established the International Conference on Photochemistry. After retiring, he spent ten years consulting, bringing people and universities together with funding.