Browse Oral Histories Alphabetically

Jeffrey Noebels first planned to major in French literature at Reed College, but Mary Meikle’s class in physiological psychology sparked his interest in brain function. He spent a year at University College London, which was then the epicenter of brain study. He decided to get both a PhD and an MD. He began graduate school at Stanford University, working on epilepsy with Timothy Pedley and David Prince. The American Epilepsy Society’s William G. Lennox Fellowship sent him to Harvard University for postdoctoral work, and then he began medical school at Yale University. While doing his neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, he won a Klingenstein Fellowship to work on epilepsy. Having completed his degrees, Noebels was recruited to Baylor, where he founded the Developmental Neruogenetics Laboratory.

Donald Noyce begins the interview with a discussion of his childhood home in Iowa. He discusses his family and their strong academic tradition, his years at Grinnell College, and his early training as a chemist. He also details his graduate training at Columbia University, including his work with William von Eggers Doering, his courses, research, and the University's atmosphere. Next, he discusses his position at the University of California at Berkeley. He describes the faculty, the chemistry administration, and the changing atmosphere with respect to organic chemistry. He describes briefly his interaction with other faculty, his research, and his graduate students. Finally, he discusses the development of physical organic chemistry from the turn of the century to 1980. 

Thomas J. O'Dell was born in Berwick, Pennsylvania. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study psychology and natural science. He became interested in neuroscience after reading an article on the brain and memory in Scientific American. O'Dell matriculated at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he rotated through Ernest S. Barratt's laboratory, studying electrophysiology, but chose to perform his doctoral research on neurotransmitters in retinal neurons in Burgess N. Christensen's laboratory. Next he took postdocs in Bradley E. Alger's laboratory at the University of Maryland and Eric R. Kandel's laboratory at Columbia University. O'Dell then accepted a position at the University of California, Los Angeles, working on beta-adrenergic receptors for norepinephrine and their role in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. 

George A. O'Toole grew up in rural eastern Long Island, New York. In high school he was especially encouraged by a science teacher who praised O'Toole's interests in science oriented shows like Nova and Nature. O'Toole participated in a research program for high school students at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he was first exposed to cell biology. O'Toole matriculated at Cornell University where he worked in the microbiology research laboratory of Steven H. Zinder had a paper accepted to the Cornell Undergraduate Journal of Science. O'Toole began his graduate research as Jorge C. Escalante-Semerena's first graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, focusing his research on the genetics and biosynthesis of Vitamin B 12. He published nine papers, learning the process of writing a scientific paper directly from Escalante-Semerena. Upon finishing his PhD, O'Toole undertook his post-doctoral research with Roberto Kolter at Harvard Medical School, then accepted a position at Dartmouth Medical School and worked as a consultant for his friend's company, Microbia. O'Toole received a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences award from which have come numerous collaborations and a networking system. Throughout the interview O'Toole discusses the current climate of funding, mentoring, scientific ethics, and the importance of translational research with regard to scientific responsibility. 

Hans C. Oettgen was born in Germany, but raised in Connecticut. As a child, he spent time in his father's lab and came to understand research when he helped with the isolation of a particular protein from peanuts, which is expressed on some cancer malignancies. He attended Williams College, then went to Harvard Medical School; during one summer, he worked on B lymphocytes with Cornelius P. Terhorst at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center. He moved into the MD/PhD program and continued to work with Terhorst, writing his thesis on biochemical characterization of T-cell-receptor structure. As a postdoc with Philip Leder, he developed a mouse without the gene for immunoglobulin E (IgE). He is now at Children's Hospital in Boston, researching the role of IgE in immune function. 

Marjorie A. Oettinger grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and studied biology at Harvard. She worked in the Kevin Struhl lab as an undergraduate, where she enjoyed lab work and trained other students. Next, Oettinger entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's graduate program in the health sciences and technology. While working in David Baltimore's lab, she collaborated with David G. Schatz on the recombination of V(D)J in fibroblasts and discovered that RAG-1 and RAG-2 synergistically activate V(D)J recombination. Oettinger now works at Harvard. She discusses her varied lab experiences and explains that her criteria for choosing research projects must include factors like fundability and probability of publications, not just interest to her. For this reason she particularly appreciates private grants like the Pew Scholars Award. 

George A. Olah reflects on winning the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry and discusses his upbringing in Budapest, Hungary, where he earned a PhD in organic chemistry from the Technical University of Budapest. With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Olah and his family eventually immigrated to Ontario, Canada, where he became a research scientist at the Dow Chemical Company but later became a professor at Western Reserve University. Olah was instrumental in the merging of Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology, forming Case Western Reserve University, but eventually he left to become director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute. 

Bradley B. Olwin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up on Los Alamos, New Mexico. There his father was an engineer who worked on nuclear testing sites. Olwin studied chemistry at the University of California at San Diego, where he worked in Stuart Brody's and Susan Taylor's lab. Olwin then attended the University of Washington, studying pharmacology. Working in Daniel R. Storm's labs, he used anisotropy to study calmodulin-binding interactions. Olwin accepted a postdoc at University of California, San Francisco in Zach Hall's lab, then at Stephen Hauschka's lab at University of Washington, where he stayed for three years. From there he accepted a professorship at Purdue. Olwin continues to work on the effects of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) on cell differentiation and regulation, cell de-differentiation, and signaling. 

Miguel A. Ondetti starts his interview by describing his upbringing in Argentina, where he was broadly trained in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires and offered a PhD scholarship and a research opportunity at The Squibb Institute. Ondetti eventually relocated to the US in New Jersey and worked in the peptide synthesis field and pharmaceutical research, while collaborating with scientists in both industry and academia during his career. 

Paul Oreffice describes his interests in entering a commercial career and his career at Dow, reflecting on the development of Dow International and Dow in general as a place for world innovation in plant engineering and product development. Oreffice also offers his views on environmental concerns and government regulations. Oreffice also discusses the chemical industry and Dow in light of industry changes, such as internationalization and consolidation. 

Thomas L. Ortel grew up in on a farm in Indiana. Weekly allergy shots and chicken butchering influenced his early interest in biology. Ortel attended Indiana University for  microbiology and chemistry. He enrolled in the MD/PhD program at IU, where he entered the Frank W. Putnam lab to study protein chemistry. Ortel next studied hematology/oncology at Duke University Medical Center; he liked the camaraderie and the focus on connections between research and clinical practice. While an intern and resident he performed an eye-opening rotation in infectious disease in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He stayed at Duke for a fellowship and soon joined the faculty. He discusses funding, writing, teaching and administrative responsibilities, ethnic and gender makeup of his lab and fellow faculty, lab management, and clinical versus research work. 

Donald Othmer discusses his upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska, his studies at the Armour Institute, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Michigan, and his experience at Eastman Kodak and Poly Tech. Othmer also recounts his adventures in Burma, his association with the government during World War II, the inception of the Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, and the Chemists' Club. 

Michael J. Overduin was born in Ontario, Canada, and studied biology at Wilfrid Laurier University, completing a thesis with Bernard Glick on the transformation of Pseudomonas aeroginosa and Esherichia coli by electroporation. He attended Rockefeller University for graduate studies in structural biology, working with David Cowburn and using nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the structure of a signal transduction protein. After a postdoc, he accepted a position at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and began to research domain structure of receptors involved in endocytosis. He also assisted in establishing an NMR spectroscopy facility and biomolecular structure program while there. After several years, he moved to University of Birmingham, helping build the NMR spectroscopy facility and continuing research on complex systems and protein domains of therapeutic targets. 

For more information on Richard Padgett, 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. 

Eric G. Pamer was born in Los Angeles, but went to school in Europe and in Cleveland, Ohio. Pamer attended Case Western Reserve University, where he obtained his BA in biology, initially studying hydra in Georgia Lesh's lab and working summers at the Cleveland Clinic. When he entered medical school he worked in Adel Mahmoud's lab, working on immune defense against schistosomiasis. During his fourth year he spent three months working in a Kenyan hospital. He obtained training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at UCSD Medical Center and completed fellowships in parasitology and cellular immunology at Scripps Research Institute and the University of Washington. In 1992, Pamer became an assistant professor at Yale and in 2000 he moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to lead the infectious disease service. 

For more information on Barbara Panning, 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. 

Diane M. Papazian spent her early years in Detroit, where she exhibited an early interest in science. While studying chemistry at the University of Michigan, her organic chemistry class had students identify compounds without using modern methods, which Papazian found enthralling. Papazian entered graduate school at Harvard University, where she discovered neurobiology. She worked in Stanley M. Goldin's lab, reconstituting and purifying calcium transporting ATPases. Papazian accepted a postdoc at the Lily Y. and Yuh Nung Jan lab at the University of California, San Francisco, where she worked on cloning the Shaker gene. Next, she accepted a position at University of California, Los Angeles, and organized her lab there. She discusses her belief that neurobiology must be interdisciplinary, funding disparities, UCLA's atmosphere, and more. 

Rudolph Pariser's life has been significantly shaped by the historical events of the twentieth century, from being born in China after his mother found refuge there during the Russian Revolution while his father escaped from his Russian captives, to being taught in Tokyo as a result of the Japanese invasion of China, and eventually permanently relocating to California due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Pariser continued his education at the University of California at Berkeley, earning his degree in chemical technology there and later his PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Minnesota after his military service. Pariser then started a long and successful career at Du Pont, originally as a Research Chemist but eventually rising through the ranks of research management owing to his contribution to the development of PPP theory; Du Pont recognized Pariser for his technical achievement by awarding him the Lavoisier Medal in 2003. 

Susan M. Parkhurst was born in Tacoma, Washington. She matriculated at Johns Hopkins University, where she profited from an inspirational developmental biology class and a friendship with a graduate student, Suki Parks. She continued at Hopkins for graduate school, where she joined Victor G. Corces' lab. Next, Parkhurst undertook a postdoc in the David Ish-Horowicz lab at Oxford University. Her work on hairy-wing led to the discovery of how to count chromosomes for sex determination and the transduction of sex-determining signals by helix-loop-helix proteins. She is now a principal investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She discusses encouraging women and minorities in science, relationships between research institutions and pharmaceutical companies, gene patents, and her excitement about doing science. 

Emma Parmee grew up in Keynsham, England. She attended Exeter College at the University of Oxford and her publication on milbemycin E was awarded the prize for best dissertation in that year. From Oxford, Parmee went to a postdoctoral position at MIT, growing more interested in synthesis than in process. She was recruited by Merck & Co. and worked on obesity projects, helping develop L507. She is credited with being instrumental in the discovery of sitagliptin which is used to treat diabetes. Parmee helped oversee and organize the merger with Schering-Plough and was named Executive Director, Discovery Chemistry Site Head. Parmee discusses her views of science education and the public’s skewed perceptions of drug companies. She says women are still underrepresented in upper levels of management in drug companies but that things are improving. No longer at the bench, she takes her satisfaction in teaching and helping others. She is proud of her three compounds that went to proof of concept in man:  β3-agonist, glucagon, DPP-4 (sitagliptin).

After his formative years Ogden, Utah, Robert W. Parry attended Weber College but earned his BS from Utah State University, his MS from Cornell University, and his PhD from the University of Illinois. Parry's career includes performing research for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and positions at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, the Munitions Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, and the University of Utah. Later, Parry became involved with the Gordon Research Conferences, serving as conference chairman, an executive committee member, and chairman of the board of directors. 

As a child in Alabama, Jennie Patrick had no real science experience, but she always wanted to know how and why things worked, and by junior high she decided she wanted to be a chemist. When studying chemical engineering at UC Berkeley, she was the only African-American woman in her department. She excelled and attended MIT for her ScD. There she found more black students and professors, including John Turner, who was a dean of students. During her career, she worked for General Electric, Rohm and Haas, Southern Company Services, and Raytheon. While a 3M Eminent Scholar at Tuskegee University, she developed a mentoring program for girls in science. She also discusses her childhood mentors and advice for aspiring chemical engineers. 

Linus Pauling traces his interest in science since his formative years, from gathering laboratory equipment and conducting chemistry experiments in his home, working in his high school's chemistry laboratory, to supporting himself during his undergraduate years by tending to the chemistry department stockroom at Oregon State Agricultural College. As a graduate student at Caltech, Pauling was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in Zürich, where he later developed the theory of the three-electron bond. 

Gregory S. Payne was born in San Francisco and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, where he initially studied theater, and got a job at a lab to make money, starting as a dishwasher but later assisting in preparations for research. He changed his major from theater to biology and decided to go to graduate school. He attended the University of California, San Francisco, then went on to a postdoctoral position with Randy Schekman at the University of California, Berkeley. He took a reverse genetics approach, used antibodies to identify clathrin, and discovered that knocking out the clathrin gene did not kill cells. Finally, he started his own lab at UCLA, researching proteins involved in cell transport. 

Samuel L. Pfaff was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, where a high school biology teacher suggested he volunteer in a Mayo Clinic laboratory. In Peter Dyck's neurology lab there, Pfaff contributed to research on Wallerian degeneration and presented at local, state, and national science fairs. At Carleton College, a class with Dr. Ross Shoger proved quite influential. He attended University of California, Berkley for graduate school, to study with Peter Duesberg whose lab focused on how oncogenes function. After a postdoc he joined the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researching gene combinations for regulation of motor neurons in spinal cord development. Pfaff discusses balancing family life and career, funding, educating the public about science, the relationship of politics and science, and more. 

Marilyn Pike grew up in Westchester, New York. Pike credits her high school biology teacher for inspiring her career in science. She majored in zoology at Duke University but became interested in biochemistry in Irwin Fridovich’s class. After graduation, Pike worked for three years as a technician in Ralph Snyderman’s lab, publishing several papers. She decided to go to graduate school, staying at Duke and continuing to work in Snyderman’s lab. There she began work with phospholipids, work that continues in her lab today. Pike attended medical school at Duke, finishing her MD in three years and moved to University of Michigan to complete her internship and residency. Pike found a job at Massachusetts General Hospital, with an assistant professorship at Harvard University.

Beth Pilling grew up in Spring House, Pennsylvania. She had very little interaction in Ambler, and she remembers the White Mountains as being just part of the landscape; there was no concern about asbestos then. Pilling became administrator of the Montgomery County Open Space Program and as a representative she attended all the meetings of Citizens for a Better Ambler and then the community advisory group. She believes that the rejection of the high-rise project reflected concern more with loss of green space and the view than with fear of asbestos. Yet another faction, she says, pushes whatever outcome it desires. Because the future use group could not agree on anything it was disbanded, and Pilling is pessimistic about the future of the site. She says the EPA should have determined to what use the citizens wanted the site put and remediated to that purpose; or the CAG should have determined what possible uses there could be, and the costs of each use, and chosen one.

Roy Plunkett discusses his upbringing, his family ties to the Church of the Brethren, his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Manchester College, his graduate work in carbohydrate chemistry at Ohio State University, and his friendship with Paul Flory. After graduate work in carbohydrage chemistry at Ohio State University. an offer from DuPont sent Plunkett to the Jackson laboratories and the refrigerants group where an early assignment was the synthesis of tetrafluoroethylene. Plunkett was moved to tetraethyl lead manufacture; he details his work there and his later career in the Organic Chemicals Department. The interview ends with the recognition of his pioneer work with Teflon and the honors it has brought him. In a brief second interview, Roy Plunkett tells of his common religious background with Paul Flory, their student days at Manchester College and Ohio State University, and their contacts over the years. The conversation ends with further recollections of the circumstances of the initial discovery of tetrafluoroethylene polymerization. 

For more information on James Posakony, 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. 

Vladimir Prelog reflects on his long and distinguished career as an organic chemist, from his formative years in Yugoslavia, his doctoral studies in Prague, his academic involvement at the Technical Faculty of the University of Zagreb, to his research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). At ETH, Prelog has worked with the chemistry of natural products and stereochemistry while collaborating with Cahn and Ingold to create the CIP system for defining absolute configuration. 

George C. Prendergast was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was inspired to study biochemistry by a chance exposure to James Watson's Molecular Biology of the Gene. He went on to graduate research at Yale University, but, becoming interested in cancer genes, switched to Princeton where in Michael Cole's laboratory he cloned and characterized the first genes regulated by the Myc oncogene. As a postdoctoral fellow in Edward Ziff's laboratory at New York University, which studied oncogenic transcription factors, Prendergast defined the dimerization and DNA recognition functions of Myc required in cancer. Having moved to Merck Research Laboratories to translate these findings to cancer therapy, Prendergast soon became frustrated and left to accept an independent position at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, where he expanded his studies to encompass Ras inhibitors and programmed cell death. In seeking to merge academic and pharmaceutical efforts to pursue new therapeutic principles, Prendergast subsequently became senior director of cancer research at DuPont Pharmaceuticals, thereby becoming a principal investigator for two laboratories at Wistar and DuPont. 

Charles Price discusses his career as a chemist, from his undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College, his graduate work at Harvard University, his faculty appointments, to his research for the National Defense Research Committee during World War II. Price played an influential role as chairman of the department of chemistry at the University of Notre Dame and then later at University of Pennsylvania, while he also conducted research in physical organic chemistry. 

Malcolm Pruitt recounts his early life in Texas and his struggles to complete his undergraduate education during the Depression. As a control chemist at Dow, Pruitt began his extensive studies of the ionic polymerization of cyclic oxide monomers and eventually moved into senior research management. Pruitt also reflects on his initiatory role in the formation of the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology and the Council for Chemical Research. 

In this second interview, Malcolm Pruitt reflects on the history and successes of the Council for Chemical Research, describing its origins as deriving from his concern for the poor cooperation between university and industry, thus causing Pruitt to establish a task force which led to the founding of the Council. Pruitt also discusses the American Chemical Society. 

Ann M. Pullen was born in Eastbourne, England. As a child, she enjoyed exploring the outdoors and using a microscope to dissect insects. She attended University of Bath, where she worked in a lab with Michael J. Danson. She also experienced research placements in an agricultural lab near Bristol, England, and subsequently at the Technical Research Centre of Finland. She matriculated at Cambridge University to study immunology with Alan J. Munro, researching Peyer's patch T cell hybridomas. Pullen then took a postdoc at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colorado. There, she focused her work on T cells, before moving to an assistant professorship at University of Washington, where she collaborated with Michael Patrick Stuart on Mycoplasma fermentans and began using transgenic mice to study extrathymic T cell development. 

For more information on Ellen Puré, 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. 

In this brief interview with the Life Sciences Foundation, David Pyott recalls his upbringing, education and career attainments at Sandoz/Novartis and Allergan.

Daniel P. Raleigh grew up in Arcata, California. He attended Humboldt State University, and was pushed by an excellent faculty member towards chemistry. He loved math, but he felt he "lacked the spark" to be an original mathematician. Raleigh attended graduate school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; there he joined Robert G. Griffin's laboratory, where he became interested in biological problems, which he pursued during a biochemistry postdoc at University of Oxford. When at State University New York, Stony Brook, he immediately established his lab, developing his own form of management and mentoring. He has purposely chosen to avoid corporate funding. He is interested in the history of science, as he feels it important to place scientific findings in broader context. When not working, he focuses his time on environmental causes.

George Rathmann discusses his upbringing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his undergraduate work in physical chemistry at Northwestern University, and later his graduate studies in physical chemistry at Princeton University. Rathmann had a successful industria; career, from working as a research chemist at 3M Company to acting as Vice-President of Research and Development at Abbott Laboratories, where he became greatly interested in recombinant DNA. Later in his career, Rathmann became more involved in the world of biotechnology and biotech companies. 

Mark A. Ratner discusses his upbringing in Cleveland, Ohio, his undergraduate years at Harvard University, his graduate studies at Northwestern University, and his postdoctoral fellowship in Denmark and Munich. Afterwards, Ratner began working at New York University while exploring molecular electronics, but returned to Northwestern as a faculty member in the Chemistry Department. Ratner also reflects on his collaborations with IBM and DARPA, his experiences as organizing chair and a member of the board of directors for the Gordon Research Conferences, and on the future of nanotechnology. 

Frank J. Rauscher, III, grew up near Washington, DC. His father was director of the National Cancer Institute, to which Rauscher attributes his early interest in biology. He attended Moravian College, spending breaks in labs at Columbia University and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Next, Rauscher entered Edwin Cadman's lab as a technician. Interested in molecular biology and oncogene research, he entered graduate school at SUNY Buffalo, where he studied the interaction of drugs and chromatin. During a postdoc in the Tom Curran lab at Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, his research focused on the fosoncogene. Finally, Rauscher set up his lab as an assistant professor at the Wistar Institute. He discusses grant writing, competition, hypothesis driven science, and the importance of basic cancer research. 

For more information on Jeffrey Ravetch, please visit the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences.

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

A.R. Ravishankara grew up in Mysore and Bangalore, India, the son of a farmer who died when Ravishankara was ten years old. Ravishankara graduated high school at fourteen and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Mysore. He entered the PhD program at the University of Florida, where he worked on hydrofluorocarbon under Robert Hanrahan. After stints at the University of Maryland and Georgia Tech, Ravishankara moved to the Aeronomy Lab at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, where he later became head of the Chemical Science Division. Much of Ravishankara's current work involves explaining his research to government policy makers and members of the Montreal Protocol.  

Pradip Raychaudhuri grew up in Calcutta, India. His grandfather influenced him in mathematics, working problems with him from an early age. His father inspired his interest in the Hindu religion, believing Hinduism and science were compatible. Raychaudhuri attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, where he studied protein synthesis in Umadas Maitra's lab. Next, he accepted a postdoc in the Joseph R. Nevins lab at Rockefeller University, where he showed that E1A activates transcription factors by removing tumor suppressors. He discusses funding difficulties, grant writing, balancing clinical and basic science, and recent funding history. After three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University Raychaudhuri accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine; he has since received tenure. 

Harold J. Read describes his family background and his upbringing in Illinois. He earned his BS and MA degrees from the University of Illinois, then relocated to the University of Pennsylvania where his PhD research brought him into the area of metallurgy. Read also worked for the Mellon Institute where his metal-work eventually led to equipment design and manufacturing prototypes for the Manhattan Project. Read was also involved in the Electrochemical Society, eventually becoming its President while overseeing its publications. 

Charles Reed discusses his family background, early education, and growing up in Findlay, Ohio. He earned a BS in chemistry from the Case School of Applied Science, where he was influenced by Professor Carl Prutton. For graduate school, Reed wanted to pursue both chemistry and chemical engineering, and combined his interests at MIT, where he earned his DSc in chemical engineering in 1937. Upon receiving his doctorate, Reed became an assistant professor at MIT; while there, he also began to consult for various companies. In 1942, he accepted a position with General Electric Company, where he spent the rest of his career.  His first work involved organosilicon polymers and the scaling up of processes.  Through the years, Reed moved up the management ladder, becoming senior vice president of corporate technology in 1971.  During his time at GE, he helped to scale up the silicone processes, and worked on phenolic laminates, the commercial development of synthetic diamonds, and the development of both polycarbonates and polyphenylene oxide. Reed concludes the interview with his thoughts on the future of GE and his experience as a member one of its Sector Boards.

Elsa Reichmanis discusses her family's immigration to the United States and her childhood in Syracuse, New York, where she also earned her BS and PhD in chemistry from Syracuse University. Later, Reichmanis took a technical staff position at AT&T Bell Laboratories (currently known as Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies), and eventually she was promoted to director. Reichmanis describes her work, which involves photonic research and deep-UV lithography, while also offering her views on Valerie J. Kuck's research on women in chemistry, the definition of innovation, and the future of chemistry. 

Tadeus Reichstein discusses his long and distinguished career as an organic chemist. He begins by recalling his family and early education in Germany and Switzerland, then describes his advanced work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In 1938, Reichstein moved to the Pharmaceutical Institute at Basel and the central portion of the interview focuses on his research leading to the Nobel Prize in 1950. This includes work on Vitamin C synthesis, cortisone and other adrenal hormones, and glycosides. The interview concludes with Reichstein expressing his personal philosophy, his views on the changes in chemistry, and his interest in botany.

Karin M. Reinisch grew up in Massachusetts and attended Harvard University, where she majored in chemistry. She studied under Maitland Jones and George Whitesides and worked in the Whitesides lab. She stayed at Harvard for graduate school; there she worked on methyltransferase in William Lipscomb's lab. Reinisch's thesis research became a paper for Cell. Reinisch then accepted a postdoc in Stephen Harrison's lab, where she worked on her reovirus project and published a paper in Nature. From there she accepted a position at Yale University. Reinisch describes developing her own lab, recruiting postdocs, and her current projects, as well as ethics classes, cultural differences, the future of membrane trafficking, women in science, and science education. 

Malcolm Renfrew grew up in the Northwest US and studied chemistry at the University of Idaho. He worked as a teaching assistant in physics and chemistry, completed a master's thesis, then joined George Glockler at Minnesota for research on Raman spectroscopy. When Renfrew joined the Arlington laboratories of Du Pont he became involved with plastics development, especially of Teflon. Renfrew has long had a special interest in health and safety in the chemical environment and he recounts laboratory accidents during the development of PTFE. After moving to General Mills and then to Spencer Kellogg, Renfrew went back to his alma mater in 1959 as head of physical science. He completes the interview with an account of his return to teaching.