Robert Adams grew up in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. As a student at the Ambler campus of Temple University with a major in urban studies and environmental science, he became familiar with the “White Mountains” of Ambler, the piles of asbestos-containing waste material. His first official interaction with the area was as land manager for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Area (WVWA). By the time Adams began working for WVWA the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had completed the capping of the White Mountains. The BoRit site had been mostly ignored until a developer wanted to build a seventeen-story high-rise. The WVWA, hoping to buy a reservoir located in the middle of the site, was concerned about proper remediation. Adams was elected co-chair of the CAG which helped BoRit to get added to the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List, and a remediation study is ongoing. He hopes that the BoRit site, which is now fenced off, can eventually be more accessible to the residents. He says that other communities might take Ambler’s experience as a call to pay attention to their environments.
Alison E. M. Adams attended Trinity College, Dublin, where she studied genetics and spent a semester in John Pringle’s lab at the University of Michigan. Next, she returned to the United States and to Pringle’s lab, researching Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After finishing her PhD she ended up at David Botstein’s lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then went with him to Genentech, where she discovered that fimbrim isoforms can compensate for Sac6. This work inspired her research at the University of Arizona, where she established her own lab and shifted toward biochemistry. Adams plans to take a sabbatical to pursue research for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and teach in India. She discusses her role in science, scientific cooperation, and perspective on the future of mankind.
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James V. Aidala began working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a college intern in the Office of Pesticide Programs and returned as a policy analyst in the new Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPTS) after graduate school. From Aidala’s perspective, there was much uncertainty in the early years of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), in part due to challenges with the law’s specificity regarding polychlorinated biphenyls and, later, asbestos and lead, and in part due to logistical, organizational, and legal difficulties in the early years of TSCA. After leaving the EPA Aidala then worked for the US Senate, the Congressional Research Service, and the House of Representatives, where he found that political interest was always more focused on pesticides than toxics.
Jean Aitchison discusses how she first became involved in thesaurus development. Aitchison worked to complete three editions of English Electric Faceted Subject Classification for Engineering, between 1958 and 1961, and in March 1967 she began work on Thesaurofacet. She also worked to develop and improve the Bliss Association Classification system.
Thomas M. Aitchison began his career in information science at Courtaulds. After completing a Library Association correspondence course, he worked as a divisional librarian and information officer with the British Aircraft Corporation, and then as a member of the Aslib aircraft information group. He also developed a journal for the National Electronics Research Council. Later, he worked to mechanize Science Abstracts and organize the Direct Evaluation of Indexing Languages [DEVIL] project.
Thomas C. Alber grew up as an American in post World War II Japan and moved to Los Angeles in 1964. While attending the University of California, Santa Cruz Alber worked in Anthony L. Fink’s enzyme mechanism laboratory. As a graduate student, he did research at various laboratories including those at the University of California, San Diego, Berkeley, Oxford, and MIT. After earning his PhD, Alber started his postdoctoral research with Brian W. Matthews at the University of Oregon, before moving on to the University of Utah and then University of California, Berkeley. These moves allow him to reflect on the ways in which university science model differs at a range of institutions and varies from science in other nations.
Allison A. Aldridge attended the University of Illinois as an undergraduate, majoring in biology and taking many courses in chemistry. She then began a job in quality assurance at Hercules Aerospace, Inc. A friend encouraged her to seek an advanced degree, and she soon applied for and was accepted into the PhD program in chemistry at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. Degree in hand, Aldridge accepted a senior scientist job at Unilever, where she stayed for about three years. Over her career, she worked for a number of chemical companies: Abbott Laboratories, Mikart, Inc., Revogenex, Inc., and Speed Laboratory, Inc. Dr. Aldridge was also Chair of the Committee on Minority Affairs at the American Chemical Society.
Robert W. Allington had an interest in electronics from a young age. During his adolescence, Allington developed his skills in electronics through building radios, among other things, and by working as a television repairman. Later, he worked as an intern at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the SAGE air defense computer; near the end of the internship he was diagnosed with polio. Eventually he became an entrepreneur and founded Instrumentation Specialties Company (Isco), which focused on separation and environmental instrumentation.
John D. Altman was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan. He had planned to attend medical school after obtaining an electrical engineering degree, but soon after beginning college he switched majors to chemistry, working in Michael Marletta’s toxicology laboratory. During his junior year he realized that he wanted to go into research, and decided to attend University of California, San Francisco for graduate school. His doctoral research in Irwin Kuntz’s biophysical chemistry laboratory involved using two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to study protein structure. After postdocs at Stanford and Oxford University, Altman accepted a position at the Vaccine Center of Emory University. He talks about his administrative roles collaborations, funding, and his research on vaccines at the Southeastern Regional Center for Excellence in Biodefense.
Hubert N. Alyea was an internationally-known popularizer of chemistry. His public demonstrations and academic lectures won him numerous awards and brought the beauty of chemistry to his students and interested laypeople alike.
Neal Amundson worked as a process control engineer for Exxon, then for Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. In 1947, he became a professor in the University of Minnestoa’s chemical engineering department. By 1951, at just age thirty-five, Amundson held the positions of department chair and professor; he worked on heat transfer, chromatography, and adsorption. In 1977, Amundson left the University of Minnesota and became the Cullen Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston.
Gloria L. Anderson was born and raised in Altheimer, Arkansas. Anderson was always good in school, even skipping grades, yet she had to attend segregated schools. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College (AM&N) and her PhD from the University of Chicago, studying fluorine using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in Leon Stock’s lab. Anderson became associate professor and then chair of the department of chemistry at Morris Brown College, where she researched fluorine-19, and studied amantadines as potential antivirals. She held the Fuller E. Callaway Chair until she became Dean of Academic Affairs, and resumed the Chair after her return to teaching. In addition to her work for the college, Anderson served on the boards of Georgia and Atlanta Public Broadcasting, as well as many others, and she has been on an advisory committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Paul J. Anderson discovered a love of science as a child, which he nurtured through his degree in biology from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Bernard Dudock inspired Anderson to work in William Bauer’s labs, where he was encouraged to design experiments and met Francis Crick. Anderson entered an MD/PhD program at New York University. He specialized in rheumatology for his clinical years at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and worked at Stuart F. Schlossman’s lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He helped found the biotechnology company Apoptosis Technology. Anderson believes we will continue to learn more about the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis, which will allow us to interfere in the molecular cell death and to control diseases like cancer or organ rejection.
Paul S. Anderson, shortly after graduate school accepted a position as a researcher with Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories. Over the next thirty years, Anderson advanced through the ranks of Merck leadership, eventually becoming the vice president for chemistry at their West Point facilities. Then, in 1998, Anderson became the senior vice president of his department for the newly formed DuPont Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Robert Armstrong discusses his early life in Nebraska and Arizona, his undergraduate and graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his career in industry. Armstrong recalls his work on rubber vulcanization and his pioneering research on radical polymerization at the U.S. Rubber Company, then later at the North American Rayon Company and the Celanese Corporation. Armstrong describes his duties as he progressed up the corporate ladder and also outlines his involvement with the establishment of the Research Triangle Institute.
Peter R. Arvan’s family background played an important role in his development, including his mother’s escape from Nazi Germany as a teenager. His decision to pursue science developed from his involvement in the National Science Foundation Summer Program in Biochemistry before his senior year in high school. Arvan joined Efraim Racker’s laboratory at Cornell University and then pursued his PhD at Yale University, working in the research laboratory of J. David Castle, and completed his residency at the University of North Carolina and Yale. Throughout the interview Arvan discussed the difficulties of scientific funding, the fortuitous events which have shaped his scientific thinking, and the difficulties inherent in the MD/PhD program.
In this joint interview, Donald Green and Willard Asbury recount the early years at Standard Oil Development Company and the influence of Frank Howard and Eger Murphree. The arc process is discussed as well as the level of assistance obtained from IG Farben. Green and Asbury recall the IG research organization; the wartime pressures during the development of GR-S; and the problems at the Baton Rouge plant. Asbury tells of his visit to Germany with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and the political recriminations of the prewar cooperation between Standard Oil and IG Farben are recollected, as are visits to Germany in the 1930s and 1950s.
Charles M. Auer joined the EPA’s Office of Toxic Substances, before the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed, as an entry level chemist doing screening-level risk assessments. He was the first chair of the Structure Activity Team, which was responsible for developing structure activity relationship (SAR) analysis as a method for evaluating new chemicals. While it was clear to Auer that there was never any question that SAR satisfied the legal requirements of TSCA’s Section 4 premanufacture review, he witnessed several studies to verify the validity of SAR results. As a division director, Auer found it difficult to prioritize existing chemicals, primarily because Inventory Update Rules were not issued to collect changing hazard and exposure information. Auer believes that the Office has been very innovating, adjusting to emerging science on toxicity and applying TSCA while staying within its legal limits, and that the key to an effective toxics program is to be as dynamic as the chemical industry.
Arthur L. Babson grew up in Essex Fells, New Jersey, one of two children. Babson began college and the Army Special Training Reserve Program at Rutgers. He worked in a laboratory at American Dyewood until he was drafted. When he left the service and returned to the United States, he matriculated into Cornell University, majoring in zoology and taking courses in biochemistry. He went to graduate school at Rutgers University, earning a Master’s in Biochemistry. Under James Allison, he worked on protein nutrition, earning his PhD. After a short postdoc, Babson began work at Warner-Chilcott Laboratories. It was there that Babson’s career in diagnostics was launched and automating clinical chemistry emerged as Babson’s core interest. Eventually, Babson started his own company, Babson Research Laboratories.
Alfred Bader discusses his early life in Vienna and his broad education, stemming from instruction in a Gymnasium, Queen’s University in Canada, and his graduate studies at Harvard. The interview continues with Bader's move to Milwaukee, his research with PPG, and the origin and growth of the Aldrich Chemical Company, including the merger with Sigma Chemical Company and the decision to go public. The interview concludes with Bader's comments on his art collection and family matters.
John C. Bailar, Jr. discusses his upbringing, during which he often helped his father with his chemical research. This, in turn, influenced Bailar to pursue a BA and MA in chemistry from the University of Colorado and later a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan. Bailar reflects on his academic career at the University of Illinois, where he changed his focus to inorganic chemistry while he conducted research on isomerism and molecular rearrangements, and later on coordination compounds. He eventually began to advise graduate students, as well as to become involved with the American Chemical Society, in which he was elected as president in 1959.
William Bailey describes his upbringing in rural Minnesota, his early interests in science, his undergraduate studies in chemistry with Lee Irving Smith at the University of Minnesota, and his graduate work with C. S. "Speed" Marvel on polymer synthesis in Illinois. Bailey continues to reflect on his research and academic career, as a postdoctoral assistant at MIT, an instructor of organic and polymer chemistry at Wayne State University, and a research professor at the University of Maryland, where he spent the rest of his career. The interview concludes with an account of Bailey's long involvement with the American Chemical Society, including his presidency in 1975 and his thoughts on the current image of chemistry.
While a student, Baker began working for the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Chemical Abstracts Service as an office boy. Aside from a brief time as a chemist working with explosives at DuPont, Baker spent his entire career with the ACS and Chemical Abstracts Service. In 1946, Baker became assistant editor of Chemical Abstracts. In 1958, Baker became Director of Chemical Abstracts Service, a position he held until 1986. Baker was instrumental in developing an on-line system for Chemical Abstracts in the early 1980s.
Dexter F. Baker discusses his early life in the suburbs of Philadelphia during World War II. He was drafted into the US Navy after graduating from high school and admitted into the Naval Academy Preparatory program. Later, he studied mechanical engineering at Lehigh University, developing an interest in turbines. Baker was drafted again, serving the US Army during the Korean War in engineering research and development laboratories and working on high-speed, small-size gas turbine engines. Eventually, Baker resumed his career in industry and business, working in a variety of positions including sales, president of air products, and Chairman of the Board.
William O. Baker was raised on Maryland's eastern shore, where he developed an interest in organic and inorganic chemistry from his parents. In college, Baker pursued the field of physical chemistry for his graduate degree at Princeton University focusing on the dielectric properties of medium length chains. After graduating, he accepted a Bell Labs position as member of technical staff and began work with C. S. Fuller and J. H. Heiss on structures and properties of high polymeric substances. A majority of this interview centers on Baker's time at Bell Labs, the development of synthetic rubber, and Baker's many other accomplishments.
John D. Baldeschwieler grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and graduated from Cornell University with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. While attending the University of California, Berkeley for graduate school, Baldeschwieler was introduced to infrared spectroscopy. After faculty positions at Harvard and Stanford, Baldeschwieler worked in various government positions, including the deputy director position for the Office of Science and Technology, and the coordinator position for the Chemical Catalysis Program in the US–USSR Commission on Science and Technology. In 1981, Baldeschwieler undertook his first commercial endeavor with the creation of Vestar, Inc. Thus began his work on a string of entrepreneurial ventures, which has included Combion, Inc., Epic Therapeutics, Inc., GeneSoft, Inc., and many others. In 1999 and 2000, Baldeschwieler was responsible in part for the creation of the Athenaeum Fund and Pasadena Entretec; two organizations established to fund and support young entrepreneurs from Caltech.
David Baltimore recounts his early interest in biology, ultimately devoting his PhD thesis to the study of animal virology. To complete his thesis he moved from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Rockefeller University to join Richard M. Franklin who was working with mengovirus. After graduating, Baltimore spent some time at the Salk Institute and then returned to MIT where he continued work on poliovirus and began work on vesicular stomatitis virus. He and his wife, Alice Huang, who at the time was a research associate in his lab, discovered that VSV carried an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase within the virus particle. This work provided the insight that led to his discovery of reverse transcriptase-the enzyme in retroviruses that transcribes DNA from RNA-and won Baltimore the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1975.
James C. A. Bardwell was born in Saskatoon, Canada and attended University of Saskatchewan. He worked with Louis P. Visentin at the Canadian National Research Council, where he focused his work on recombinant DNA. Bardwell's interest in the outdoors led him to take trips between undergraduate and graduate school to Papua, New Guinea and the Northwest Territories. He continued to travel throughout his graduate career. While at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Bardwell worked in Elizabeth Craig's laboratory on heat-shock proteins. His postdoctoral work included research in genetics on protein disulfide isomerase. Now at University of Michigan, he has continued his research on protein folding. Bardwell reflects on scientific policy, public awareness, scientific funding, and how these broader themes have influenced his work.
Charles K. Barlowe was raised in Saluda, Virginia. Following in his family's footsteps, Barlowe attended the College of William and Mary for undergrad, where he studied chemistry. He worked with Gary C. DeFotis, analyzing crystal complexes by x-ray diffraction method and measuring their ferromagnetic properties with large magnets. Barlowe next received a position with I. David Goldman in the Hematology/Oncology department of the Medical College of Virginia, where he worked on antifolate polyglutamylation and competitive drug displacement at dihydrofolate reductase as important elements in leucovorin rescue. While receiving his doctorate at the University of Texas, he studied with Dean R. Appling and continued research on tetrahydrofolate enzymology. After a postdoc with Randy Schekman at the University of California Berkeley, family and professional considerations led him to accept a faculty position at Dartmouth Medical School, where he now has his lab.
After being accepted to Stanford University, Craig R. Barrett chose to major in metallurgical engineering and continued on to receive his master's and doctoral degrees at the institution. He then spent a year in the National Physical Laboratory in England as a postdoctoral fellow before returning to Stanford as an assistant professor. Frustrated with basic research, Barrett jumped at the chance to take a temporary leave of absence to join the Intel R&D department. In 1984, Barrett's promotion to vice president signaled Intel's commitment to the manufacturing division and coincided with the company's shift from memory to microprocessor manufacturing. Barrett then described his career rise to senior vice president, executive vice president, and eventually to chief executive office and president.
Sherry Bartolucci describes her early introduction to business management at AT&T and explains her decision to join the Peace Corps in Peru. After gaining more experience in business, she became the Chief Administrative Officer at the Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore Foundation. As a member of the Management Committee, she helped design an "outcome-based" grantmaking strategy that retains the ideals of Gordon E. and Betty I. Moore while insisting on quantifiable progress from grantees. Bartolucci concludes the interview with reflections on her professional and life experiences which have culminated in her current position in the Moore Foundation.
Fred Basolo begins this interview by discussing his childhood in Coello, Illinois, and his elementary and high school education. He attended Southern Illinois University where he studied to be a chemistry teacher but his instructors encouraged him to attend graduate school in chemistry. At University of Illinois, he studied inorganic chemistry with John Bailar. After receiving his PhD, he worked at Rohm and Haas in Philadelphia for three years. He decided to return to academia and accepted a positions as professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. His research interests have included kinetics and mechanisms, and metal carbonyls. Basolo describes the connections he made with Italian scientists and his American Chemical Society presidency and concludes by offering his opinion of how general and inorganic chemistry courses should be taught.
Fred Basolo played a major role in the development of the discipline of inorganic chemistry—what he refers to as “the birth of inorganic chemistry.” The formation of the Inorganic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference, which Basolo helped organize, was a key factor in inorganic chemistry’s rising significance. Basolo describes the Inorganic GRC, as well as his heavy involvement in it. He also discusses his role in GRC governance, first being nominated to council, then to the board of trustees, and eventually becoming the board chairman. He ends his interview with his thoughts about the future of chemistry and GRC.
Brenda L. Bass grew up in Florida. After briefly attending Emory University, she transferred to Colorado College, obtaining her degree in chemistry. She became a research technician at Rush Medical College, where she worked for three years before returning to University of Colorado, Boulder to pursue a PhD. There she worked in Thomas R. Cech's lab, focusing on self-splicing RNA and its implications for biological catalysis. In 1985, she accepted a post-doc with Harold Weintraub in Seattle, Washington and worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for four years. She then accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Utah, where she is still an associate professor and an assistant investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
O. A. Battista was one of eight siblings born to a poor, uneducated laborer and a housewife; he proudly details his family's hard-working nature. Attending McGill University along with his younger brother, Battista earned a BS in chemistry while supporting his household by writing epigrams for the Saturday Evening Post. Upon graduation Battista obtained a research chemist position at American Viscose Corporation. He worked on the rubber program and other war-related projects until the end of the war. Later, his work at American Viscose and its predecessor, FMC, earned him over sixty-five patents, including patents on viscose molding, novel yarn, pure cellulose, and microcrystalline collagen. In the early 1960s, Battista realized the medical applications of microcrystalline collagen and obtained pharmaceutical backing from Alcon to license the substance as the patented hemostat Avitene. In 1974 Battista took early retirement from Avicon to start his own research institute and promote an Olympiad of Science that encourages and facilitates new product innovations. His institute created over fifty-five new products and publishes of Knowledge Magazine.
For more information on Peter Baumann, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.
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Kirtrina Baxter was born in 1969 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Willingboro, New Jersey, where her parents are Evangelical pastors. Katrina spent childhood summers in Philadelphia visiting extended family. After her college years she moved to Mt. Airy and then Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. Kirtrina’s spiritual journey—from an evangelical upbringing, through radical black cosmologies, to earthly goddess readings, and especially the experience of becoming a mother—all inspired her deep relationship with nature. After living with her daughter in upstate New York for many years, Kirtrina returned to Philadelphia in the early 2000s to build coalitions with urban farmers, especially within Philadelphia’s black community. Working out of the Law Center (formerly PILCOP), Kirtrina coorganizes the Soil Generation coalition. She also serves as a board member and farm manager with Urban Creators in North Philadelphia.
In this interview Arnold Beckman begins with his teenage experience as an industrial chemist at a local gas works in Bloomington, Illinois and the Keystone Iron and Steel Works. This is followed by reflections on his student days at the University of Illinois, with special emphasis on some of the faculty and students. The central portion of the interview considers Beckman as a student and faculty member at Caltech and includes his early experiences with instrumentation, patents, and serving as an expert witness. The interview continues with Dr. Beckman discussing the origin of the pH meter and DU spectrophotometer, and concludes with the beginning stages of manufacturing and sales, emphasizing the principles used to build National Technical Laboratories, the company that would become Beckman Instruments.
In this interview Dr. Arnold Beckman begins with the National Technical Laboratories in the late 1930s, and includes details on its policies and operations. He continues with the change from NTL to Beckman Instruments, and emphasizes the development of spectrophotometry instrumentation during the 1940s. Other projects, including mass spectrometers, Geiger counters, pocket electroscopes, and the oxygen analyzer, are also discussed. Following World War II Beckman describes his reinvolvement with Caltech. The interview concludes with Beckman talking about air pollution work in Los Angeles, the formation of Shockley Laboratories, and the future of the instrumentation industry.
Manson Benedict had an early enthusiasm for chemistry, which was promoted both by his father's work and his summer jobs with Calumet and Hecla Copper Company. He entered Cornell University as an undergraduate, but quickly became dissatisfied with his Cornell education. After a year at National Aniline, Benedict decided to enroll at the University of Chicago to obtain a broader liberal education during which he explored economics and socialism. He then went into in a graduate physical chemistry program at MIT and received a National Research Fellowship at Harvard. Benedict ultimately chose to work at Kellogg, where he developed the Benedict-Webb-Rubin equation. He played a significant role in the Manhattan Project, and touches on his subsequent appointment to the Atomic Energy Commission. The concludes with his return to MIT to develop a nuclear engineering curriculum, the accomplishment ofwhich he is most proud.
O. Theodor Benfey was raised in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich, but traveled to England, where he was a student during the war, and then to the United States for a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University. He developed an interest in physical organic chemistry and structure, and the history of chemistry, and recounts pursued a career as a professor of chemistry and history of science at Haverford, Earlham, and Guilford Colleges. Benfey also had a parallel career as a writer, translator, and editor; he provided details of the various translations he has published, and recalled his term as editor of Chemistry magazine during the interview. The interview concludes with his memories of his studies in Japan and China and his current interests.
Helen M. Berman was influenced to go into crystallography through a laboratory internship with Barbara W. Low, while studying at Barnard University. After receiving her doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh, Berman went to work for the Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she researched nucleic acid crystallography and drug nucleic acid interactions. Twenty years later, she moved to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and expanded her program to include protein crystallography. Berman was convinced that archiving protein structures and studying their sequences would allow researchers to predict future protein structures, instead of relying on theoretical calculations. She worked with Walter C. Hamilton and Edgar Meyer to establish the Protein Databank (PDB) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. At the same time, Crysnet was developed to enable researchers to work on big calculations remotely, from another computer: Berman was the program's prototype user. She currently manages the PDB and applies the most modern technology to keep it running smoothly.
Michael J. Berry II was influenced by the chemistry careers of both his parents, and during his youth developed twin interests in physics and philosophy. After earning a bachelor's degree, Berry chose to pursue a PhD in physics at Harvard University under Robert M. Westervelt. In a Marine Biological Laboratory course at Woods Hole, Berry focused on electrophysiology and found a community of physicists working in neuroscience and the biological fields. His post-doctoral research with Markus Meister at Harvard University allowed him to transition successfully into the field of neuroscience. Throughout his oral history, Berry addresses such important issues as funding, mentoring his students, and attempting to balance his personal life with his career.
Jerome A. Berson graduated from high school at fifteen and then rode a Good Humor tricycle to earn some money before beginning City College of New York, chosen primarily for economic reasons. He finished at City a semester early and began working on penicillin at Hoffmann-LaRoche. From there he was drafted into the US Army, in which he worked as a medic in India until the end of World War II. Knowing he could not progress with only a bachelor's degree, Berson, with the help of the GI Bill, enrolled at Columbia University, where his PhD mentor was William von Eggers Doering. Doering urged Berson to consider academia as a career and was instrumental in arranging for a postdoctoral fellowship for him with R. B. Woodward at Harvard. Berson credits Woodward and Doering with being two of his prime influences. Berson then went to the University of Southern California (USC) . Limited resources and manpower at USC caused him to shift his focus to physical organic chemistry. After thirteen years at USC Berson, by now a fully-fledged physical organic chemist, was recruited to the University of Wisconsin, where he stayed for "six of the happiest years of [his] life." Thermal and carbocationic rearrangements, and the role of orbital symmetry in chemical reactions, were the focus of his laboratory during this period. While at Wisconsin, Berson had taken note of Erich Hückel's work, which with Hund's Rule provided continuing themes in his thinking and research. Yale University then recruited Berson. He believed that he had much yet to learn, and he found many teachers and colleagues at Yale and elsewhere. The Yale period included many new studies, especially on non-Kekulé molecules.
Carolyn Bertozzi grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and attended Harvard. Though she majored in chemistry, she worked in a biochemistry lab, where Joseph Grabowski was so impressed with her work that he required her to write a graduation thesis, which he then submitted for an award. He convinced her to attend University of California, Berkeley. There, wrote her doctoral dissertation on the synthesis of carbohydrate analogues for biological applications. Continuing her interest in carbohydrates, and contrary to the advice of other chemists, she next worked in Steven Rosen's cell biology laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. She now has her lab at University of California, Berkley. She and Rosen also founded Thios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. At Berkeley she enjoys teaching, publishing, and managing her lab.
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John H. Beynon was born in Ystalyfera, Wales, and grew up in a coal mining town. He attended a local university, the University of Wales at Swansea (Swansea University), during the early years of the Second World War. Graduating with a degree in physics, Beynon decided that the pursuit of a PhD was a waste of time and money and he committed himself fully to wartime work, including the development of weapons system used to track targets while a weapon was in motion. He spent much of his career in industry, principally working at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a British chemical company, at which he was put to work on building a mass spectrometer. He founded the Mass Spectrometry Unit at Swansea University, and was also a founding member of both the British Mass Spectrometry Society and the American Society of Mass Spectrometry. All through his long career Beynon trained a number of students (one of whom is Gareth Brenton; Brenton's reflections on his mentor are recorded in the appendix to this transcript) and did much to advance the field of mass spectroscopy.
Klaus Biemann was born and raised near Vienna, Austria. As pharmacy was the family profession, Biemann chose to study it at the University of Innsbruck. He soon developed an interest in organic chemistry, however, and shifted his focus, becoming the only graduate student in this field at that time at the University of Innsbruck. Upon finishing his degree, Biemann then received an appointment at the University of Innsbruck, in the context of which he discusses his experiences as well as the post-World War II university environment. After a summer at MIT working with George Buchi, Biemann decided that the American academic system offered more opportunities than the European one and he subsequently accepted a post-doctorate position at MIT. After two years he was appointed to a faculty position in the analytical division by Arthur C. Cope, the Head of the chemistry department. Early in his tenure at MIT, Biemann's research interest shifted from natural product synthesis to the mass spectrometry of peptides and alkaloid structure. He explains how his early work expanded the perceived applications of early mass spectrometry.
Mark D. Biggin grew up in Chesterfield, England and developed an early interest in science thanks to an inspiring biology teacher. He attended the University of Lancaster and so loved working in a lab that he applied to graduate school at Cambridge University, where he joined Frederick Sanger's Division at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. There he worked in Bart Bart Barrell's lab, where he sequenced Epstein-Barr virus DNA. After becoming interested in transcription, he took a post-doc at Robert Tjian's lab at UC Berkeley. He then moved to a professorship in Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, where he continues to teach, advise graduate students, and work in his laboratory.