Linda C. Meade-Tollin was born and raised in London, West Virginia, one of two children. Her father was a dentist and a community activist, her mother a teacher of languages and a guidance counselor. Always enthusiastically encouraged by parents and teachers, Meade-Tollin did well in school, skipping two grades. When she was in ninth grade her high school was integrated, and the three top graduates in her year were black women. Although there were no science classes in her schools until high school, Meade-Tollin was always interested in science, and when she entered West Virginia State College she decided to major in chemistry. She worked at Harlem and Bellevue Hospitals before entering a chemistry PhD program at the City University of New York (CUNY) at the age of twenty one; a year later she transferred to a program in biochemistry. During her graduate career, Meade-Tollin spent time teaching and she traveled among the various CUNY campuses to do research with Burton Tropp-her doctoral thesis dealt with gene expression in E. coli. Meade-Tollin's first faculty appointment was at the College at Old Westbury, and, for part of her time there, she was also a visiting assistant professor at Rockefeller University, working on sickle cell anemia in Anthony Cerami's lab. She applied for and received a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral award at the University of Arizona; at the end of her award at Arizona, Meade-Tollin married and she also decided to stay at the University. She was the only African-American woman to head a biomedical research laboratory at the University for many years; her areas of research focused on DNA damage, angiogenesis, and cancer invasion and metastasis. During this time she developed a reproducible and physiologically relevant bioassay for angiogenic inhibitors and enhancers suitable for drug discovery screening, and she spent a year as Faculty Development Fellow at Morehouse School of Medicine.
A. J. Meadows discusses his reasons for studying both astronomy and the history of science, and how that led to his appointment in both departments at the University of Leicester. Meadows also comments on his initial interest in information science, later establishing two centers for communication studies, and becoming associated with the Institute for Information Scientists [IIS], the Library Association [LA], and Aslib. He then discusses online communication's impact on information science with the example of BioMedNet and the e-print system, his relationship with Donald J. Urquhart, and the definition of the words information," "documentation," and "library. "
Markus D. Meister was born in Siegsdorf, Germany. When he was seven, the family moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Markus remembers visiting his father at work and walking through a particle accelerator tunnel. He attended the University of Munich, but not feeling challenged, chose to attend the California Institute of Technology for his PhD, and was recruited into Edward Stone's cosmic-ray lab. During this time, Meister attended a colloquium given by Howard C. Berg about flagellar motion, a talk that pushed Markus in the direction of biology. He spent a summer in Berg's lab and was given permission to write his PhD thesis for Berg. As a postdoc in Dennis Baylor's lab at Stanford, Meister developed an interest in neuroscience and human visual perception. He accepted an assistant professorship at Harvard Medical School, where he now has tenure.
After earning his BS in chemical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Arthur I. Mendolia began to work at DuPont as a research engineer but later rose in managerial positions such as Vice President of Explosives. DuPont recommended Mendolia for a position in the U. S. Department of Defense [DOD], where he learned more about management, organization, finances, and worked personally with President Gerald Ford. Mendolia later became involved in corporate ventures, becoming president of Halcon International and chairman of Oxirane, and later establishing his own chemical company, CasChem which would later be known as Cambrex Corporation.
Delbert Meyer discusses his upbringing in Maynard, Iowa and his initial uncertainty about his future career, leading to his decision to serve for two years in the U. S. Navy. Later, his professors at Wartburg College and the University of Iowa encouraged his interest in chemistry, contributing to his thirty-nine years with Amoco. He started his career as an exploratory researcher then as a research consultant, eventually developing a faster and more economical method for producing purified terephthalic acid (PTA), and later winning the 1995 Perkin Medal.
Matthew L. Meyerson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the youngest of three children. His family moved several times before finally settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when Matthew was seven. Meyerson's interest in science began early: he loved to collect rocks and minerals and thought he might become a geologist. He decided early to attend Harvard University. He did research on quinones during college in Leslie Dutton's laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and on enzyme evolution in Steven Benner's laboratory at Harvard. He spent a year in Japan at the University of Kyoto and then began medical school. Meyerson entered the joint health sciences and technology graduate program at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Meyerson pursued doctoral research on cyclin-dependent kinases involved in cell-cycle regulation in Edward Harlow's laboratory at Harvard. Meyerson accepted a postdoctoral fellowship on cell immortalization in Robert Weinberg's laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), then accepted a position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and set up his lab to accord with his decision to work on lung cancer genetics. Meyerson discusses his research on cancer genomics, functional biochemistry, and computational subtraction genetic analysis; and broader applications of his work genetically targeting drug treatment for lung cancer.
Seymour Meyerson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and attended the University of Chicago from which he received his undergraduate degree. By 1943 Meyerson began active service with the U. S. military, spending the majority of his time with the Signal Corps; he also performed important work as the technical liaison officer between the Manhattan District and Standard Oil Company (Indiana). His time with the military afforded him the opportunity to be trained in electronics and to encounter his first mass spectrometer. In 1946 Meyerson started what would become a nearly forty year career with Standard Oil Company (Indiana) (later the Amoco Corporation). From the outset, Meyerson was involved with the mass spectrometry group, first conducting quantitative gas analysis on gases and low-boiling liquids, consisting of hydrocarbons and fixed gases.
Catherine Hurt Middlecamp attended Cornell University, where women made up about one-fifth of the undergraduate student body. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA and a major in chemistry. She was selected as a Danforth Fellow for graduate study and chose to enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she entered Robert West's research lab on organosilicon chemistry. After finishing her Ph.D. , Middlecamp served for a year as a Danforth Teaching Intern at Knox College, then she took a faculty position at Hobart & William Smith Colleges before moving back to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. While there she developed (and still teaches) a general chemistry course for non-science majors, Chemistry in Context . In 2003, Middlecamp was elected chair of the Integrated Liberal Studies (ILS) program, a long-standing interdisciplinary certificate program on campus. The interview concludes with Middlecamp's views on teaching versus research, which she believes is a false dichotomy; what she believes are the many nefarious ways in which women are seen as unserious scholars; the undervaluation and dismissal of women and teaching; and the inherent difficulties of the tenure system.
Earl K. Miller was born near Cleveland, Ohio and attended Kent State University, originally for biology. After taking advice to get research experience, he worked in Richard M. Vardaris's psychology lab. Once he started doing experiments and collecting neurophysiology data, he fell in love" with research; Miller switched his major to psychology so Vardaris could be his advisor. He attended Princeton University for graduate studies, working in the laboratory of Charles G. Gross, studying the visual cortex. Next, Miller undertook postdoctoral work with Robert Desimone at the National Institutes of Health, transitioning from studying vision to studying the cognitive operations that operate on sensory information. He is now at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has focused his lab on cognitive neuroscience and executive brain control.
Foil A. Miller was involved early on with Pittcon and its two founding groups, the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh. In his preliminary interview Miller outlines some of the changes in the field of instrumentation that he has observed during the course of his career and reflects on some of the key individuals in instrument entrepreneurship. An interview conducted ten years later focuses on his personal biography. Inspired by a high school science teacher to study chemistry, he attended Hamline University, then went onto graduate school at Johns Hopkins. Miller spent much of his career in academia and research, taking positions at the National Research Council, the University of Minnesota, the Mellon Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jeffery F. Miller grew up in Toledo, Ohio. As a child, he used his father's microscope to study bacteria and became interested in medicine. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where he studied biology and chemistry. Influenced by almost larger than life" Moselio Schaechter, Miller attended Tufts University School of Medicine. One of his rotations was with Michael Malamy, whom Miller calls the most rigorous scientist he has ever met. After a time at Stanford, Miller accepted an assistant professorship at University of California, Los Angeles, where he has developed Listeria monocytogenes as a bacterial probe and has been experimenting with viral vaccines. He discusses testing the lab's vaccines in humans, his competitors, innovative experimentation, and his study of bacterial pathogens' interaction with the immune system. "
Ronald A. Milligan grew up near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming the first in his family to attend university. He had been interested in biology since childhood, and chose to study botany and bacteriology at the University of Leeds. After graduating, Milligan became a research assistant at the Nuffield Institute of Comparative Medicine at the London Zoo, then at the Medical Research Council, going to work on nuclear pore complex (NPC) in Nigel Unwin's lab. When Unwin was recruited to Stanford, Milligan followed. He spent three months in Germany, studying cryo-electron microscopy; his results allowed him to acquire independence as a researcher. Milligan talks about his NPC research, grantsmanship, and safe science," lab research, personnel, computers, and his work at Scripps Research Institute. "
Russell A. Mittermeier discusses the involvement and increasing support of Gordon E. Moore in Conservation International, especially his contribution to building the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science. He describes Moore as a good match with Conservation International given Moore's appreciation of its scientific approach and organizational management, leading the board of directors and transforming the organization at large. Lastly, Mittermeier reflects on how Moore's experience at Conservation International influenced the founding of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and notes the Moores' influence in attracting Silicon Valley to the cause of conservation.
Mario Molina studied chemical engineering at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where he developed a chemical catalyst to blow polyurethane foam. He completed his master’s degree in polymer kinetics at the University of Freiburg. He completed his PhD and postdoctoral work in molecular dynamics at UC Berkeley. Molina moved to the UC Irvine, interested in industrial chemicals, chlorofluorocarbons and their movements in the atmosphere, discovering their affect on the ozone layer. At CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Molina did more hands-on experimentation on the Antarctic ozone hole. His work eventually led to the banning of CFC aerosols and ultimately the passing of the Montreal Protocol. Molina accepted a professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology turning his focus turned to the more complicated chemistry on the surface of the planet. He won the first Nobel Prize for environmental science. Molina moved to UC San Diego to do research and open the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies on Energy and Environment in Mexico City. There he collaborates on research into particles in the lower atmosphere, working on air quality with Mexican government, and contributing to policy ideas about climate change.
Jeffery D. Molkentin was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Marquette University, where he discovered an interest in medicine. While in medical school, he realized being a doctor did not appeal to him, but the science of medicine did. He entered the laboratory of Lee Ann Baxter Lowe at the Blood Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, and completed his doctoral degree with Bruce E. Markham at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where his research focused on transcriptional regulation of the alpha-myosin heavy chain gene in heart muscle. Now at the University of Cincinnati, he has pursued research in developmental biology on the molecular genetic events in heart and skeletal muscle growth. He discusses goals for his laboratory and future research on the heart and heart disease.
At the interviewee's request, electronic delivery of this transcript is prohibited until February 2039.
This oral history with Gordon T. Moore and Jay T. Last focuses on the years 1956 and 1957, during which time Moore and Last worked at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and Fairchild Semiconductor was founded. This transcript is about the life of ideas and the people who brought those ideas to fruition; Moore and Last reflect on their experiences during these years while flipping through an old notebook that documented various aspects of the meetings they had over an eighteen month period. In order to fully understand this oral history, the reader must consult the Supplement to Gordon E. Moore and Jay T. Last Oral History, oral history number 0327S, which is also part of the Chemical Heritage Foundation's collection.
Carlos T. Moraes grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. When pursuing his mater's degree, he explored several career options, including a course at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas Fundacion Campomar, where he worked under Armando J. Parodi. He eventually enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University, where he worked in the Eric A. Schon lab. He accepted a position at University of Miami to study mitochondrial diseases; he also has devised some related projects and possible applications of his DNA mutation studies. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages of being a principal investigator, competition and collaboration in science, thoughts about ethical issues, concerns about overpopulation, differences between American and Brazilian students, and thoughts about the use of animals in scientific research.
In this interview, Herbert Morawetz traces his early life prior to leaving Czechoslovakia on the Nazi invasion and resettling in Canada, where he studied chemical engineering at the University of Toronto. He describes his introduction to industrial research work and his consequent Ph.D. study at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and late postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Morawetz also reflects on the future of polymer education and on international scientific collaboration.
Paul Morgan discusses his upbringing in Maine, his undergraduate studies at the University of Maine, his graduate research at Ohio State University on naturally-occuring plant pigments, and his post-doctoral work on cellulose derivatives. He describes his Du Pont investigations of the synthesis of polymers, with particular emphasis on interfacial polycondensation. Incorporated into the interview are Morgan's reflections on scientific publication from an industrial setting.
Thomas W. Muir grew up in Stranraer, Scotland. His grandfather fueled Muir's interest in mathematics, but large school classes offered little opportunity for teachers to foster his interests. He studied chemistry at University of Edinburgh, staying to pursue his PhD with Robert Ramage. He then undertook a postdoc with Stephen B. H. Kent at the Scripps Research Institute. Influenced by Mark J. Ginsberg's work on cellular interactions, Muir switched his research from FTV protease to chemical ligation and the integrin system, eventually becoming a senior research associate. He then accepted a position at Rockefeller University. His research focuses on chemical biology and the use of chimeras of synthetic peptides and recombinant proteins for in vitro biochemical pathway studies. Muir discusses teaching, administrative duties, publishing, patents, funding, and collaborations.
Warren Muir received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Amherst College. He then moved to Northwestern University’s PhD program and was captured by the new societal awareness of environmental issues. Muir was recruited into the Council on Environmental Quality, whose initiatives included the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Safe Drinking Water Acts. Muir founded Hampshire Research Associates, which worked in a number of different areas, mostly pollution prevention. Through INFORM, Inc. Muir and David Sarokin made suggestions that led to the formation of the Toxic Release Inventory, which led to the Pollution Prevention Act. Muir moved on to a pollutant release and transfer register for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Muir says that only a small fraction of uses of a wide range of chemicals causes problems; and that uses are dynamic. He believes that a centralized denoting of some chemicals as priority chemicals is not useful. He has five points for improvement: choosing a use-based approach; gathering and tracking information; narrowing the definition of “confidential” in confidential business information; making producers responsible; and retaining and improving the new-chemical review.
William A. Muller was born in Manhattan, and as a child wanted to cure death" by studying medicine. He describes his undergraduate curriculum at Harvard and his experience purifying DNA under lab director Lynn C. Klotz. Feeling that clinical and research work should complement each other, Muller attended Rockefeller University-Cornell University Medical College M.D./Ph.D. program. He talks about his clinical training, his residency, and the practical nature of medical education. He studied endothelial cells in the Michael A. Gimbrone Jr. lab. His experimental methods included testing the validity of the data on slaughterhouse aortas. Although he was anxious at first about returning to his first graduate-school lab, Muller accepted a position at Rockefeller University. He now studies proteins that mediate monocyte binding and transmigration. "
Burnaby Munson entered Tarleton State College in central Texas and transferred to the University of Texas in Austin, Texas; physical chemistry was his favorite subject. He studied the reactions of acetylene while in Robbin Anderson's lab and completed his PhD there as well. Munson's first job was with Humble Oil in Baytown, Texas, where he worked on solution thermodynamics, extracting paraffins from aromatics. Humble was collegial, and training continued with a lecture series organized by Joe Franklin, who was a good friend and mentor to Munson. Franklin's small group of high-profile scientists developed the field of ion chemistry in mass spectrometry (MS). When Franklin left Humble for Rice University, the ion chemistry group began to break up. Frank Field took his high-pressure instrument to New Jersey; Frederick Lampe went to Pennsylvania State University; and Munson took a position at the University of Delaware. Munson was recruited to use Delaware's two instruments, an old time of flight (TOF) and a new CEC 21-110. As a replacement for Joe Franklin and Frank Field, Munson attended his first American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) meeting, which he says was a plum. " He has since attended most of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) meetings, which subsumed ASTM, and he was president of the Society.
James S. Murday was fascinated by solid-state physics and decided to enroll at Cornell University, where he was research assistant for Robert Cotts. Murday's interests expanded to include diffusion. At the time, chemistry's new pulse techniques provided greater impetus for NMR, and Murday exploited the growing interface between chemistry and physics. When he finished his PhD he was recruited by Henry Resing into the NMR lab at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). He joined the American Vacuum Society (AVS), which united chemistry, materials science, and electronics. When scanning and tunneling microscopes came along, clearly nanostructures were next. AVS officially became the first home of nanoscience. Murday influenced the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, both of which had funding in abundance, to get involved in nano. Eventually the Nanometer Science and Engineering Technology (NSET), a subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), was born and Murday was named Executive Secretary. Murday was also appointed Director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), set up to support NSET.
This interview covers the life of Koji Nakanishi from his early education in Egypt to his current work as Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University and Director of the Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research in Japan. Nakanishi also comments on his education in wartime Japan, his fellowship years at Harvard University, and his research on the structure of natural products and their mode of action, and the development and use of infrared spectroscopy, NMR, and circular dichroism. He concludes by briefly discussing his avocation, magic, and some general comments on the future of organic chemistry.
Samuel Natelson discusses his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, having earned his B.S. in chemistry at the City College of New York and his Sc. M. and Ph.D. at New York University. While beginning his academic career at Girls Commercial High School, Natelson also worked as a clinical chemist at the Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn, where he first conceived the idea of a society by and for clinical chemists. Eventually, Natelson became a pioneer in the field of clinical chemistry, organizing the nine charter members of the American Association of Clinical Chemists, acting as a consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and later still pursuing a career as an educator.
Robert N. Naughten grew up in rural California during the Great Depression. He attended Sequoia High School and met Gordon Moore partially through football and swimming. Moore and Naughten commuted from home to San Jose State University for two years before moving to University of California, Berkeley. The two became roommates and were part of the co-op program. Upon graduating from the pre-med program Naughten was called to participate in the Naval Reserve's effort in the Korean War. After returning from two tours in Korea, Naughten migrated to the East Coast to attend medical school at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. Returning to California for an internship at Highland General Hospital. Naughten concluded the interview with reflections on the philanthropic contributions of Gordon and Betty Moore and traits that make Gordon Moore an ideal CEO.
Donna J. Nelson discusses her childhood in Eufaula, Oklahoma, where she was greatly influenced by her parents, especially her step-father, the town's only physician. Nelson joined the chemistry department at the University of Oklahoma, where she struggled for parity with the male students, and later went on to do graduate work at the University of Texas, Austin with Michael J. S. Dewar and post-doctorate work at Purdue University as Herbert C. Brown's first female post-doctorate. In addition to her role as faculty member of the University of Oklahoma chemistry department, Nelson also conducted surveys of women and minorities in the top chemistry departments and researched issues surrounding women and minorities in chemistry and the sciences.
Roy G. Neville comments on his family and his childhood in Bournemouth, England during the start of World War II, while admitting that he was not very intrigued by his first chemistry lesson but enjoyed performing experiments. Neville eventually earned his master's degree and Ph.D. in the U. S. at the University of Oregon, later establishing Engineering and Technical Consultants, Inc. to help chemists in industry. As an entrepreneur, Neville spent more of his time and money on his rare book collection and the creation of The Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
Amy H. Newman matriculated at Mary Washington College, majoring in chemistry and undertaking pre-medical coursework. Most of her peers were women and she found the college to be a very supportive environment; she decided to go to graduate school for medicinal chemistry. She did her postdoctorate with Kenner C. Rice at NIH, where she focused on opiate synthesis and benzodiazopene receptors. Newman then took a position at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research researching sigma receptor ligands; she collaborated with Jeffrey M. Witkin at NIH. At NIH she found a work environment supportive of her growing family and she began conducting research on analogues of benztropine-a dopamine transporter ligand like cocaine that does not have cocaine-like effects on the body. At the end of the interview Newman discusses balancing her family and career; she comments on science education in the United States; and she shares her frustrations with how the communication of science to the public leads to unrealistic expectations for drug development and with the process of drug development itself.
Melvin S. Newman, an eminent organic chemist, comments on his undergraduate and graduate work at Yale and his experiences at Ohio State University, where he spent most of his academic career researching, advising, and teaching both in the classroom and laboratory. Newman also discusses his publications, use of the innovative Newman Projection," consulting, patents, and awards. "
John J. Ngai was born in New York City. He attended Pomona College because of their good science program, and came to love school in a way he had not previously. During his senior year, he worked with Elias Lazarides at Caltech, where he wrote his senior thesis. He returned to Lazarides' lab for graduate school. Under Lazarides' direction, students took no classes, focusing on lab work. After a postdoc at Columbia, Ngai took a position at University of California, Berkley, where his wife worked in his lab; she is largely responsible for having developed an anosmic mouse, a breakthrough that has been patented. His lab is also studying smell in zebrafish. Ngai is now head of the graduate program of the Neuroscience Institute.
Nico M. Nibbering was born in Zaandam, the Netherlands, one of eight children. When school resumed after World War II, Nibbering did well and tested into high school, where he chose the science and mathematics track and where his physics and chemistry teachers influenced him to attend college. He entered the University of Amsterdam and majored in chemistry under Thymen de Boer. Nibbering also obtained his master's and PhD degrees there and became head of the mass spectrometry department. He refined his interest in gas phase ion chemistry during a few months spent in Fred McLafferty's lab at Cornell University and became entranced with a Fourier transform (FT) instrument. Back at home he and James Dawson transformed a drift cell ion machine into an FT spectrometer in just a year. When he considered leaving for Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam established a research institute for him. Nibbering is retired, but his fascination with mass spectrometry continues undiminished. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is still editor of the Wiley-Interscience Series on Mass Spectrometry .
Robert D. Nicholls was born in a small town near Melbourne, Australia. H wanted to study science, particularly biology, and he chose the University of Melbourne. During his first three years he worked on programmed experiments; in his fourth year, he worked in Barrie Davidson's lab on tyrosine amino acid biosynthesis in E. coli. Nicholls won the Royal Commission fellowship to work with David Weatherall. He went to work in Douglas Higgs' lab to study genetic disease involving brain function. Finally settling on the genetics of retardation, in particular Prader-Willi and Angelman syndromes, he chose Harvard as the best place to continue. He found Harvard aggressively competitive, and finally settled at Case Western University as an associate professor in genetics.
Raised primarily by his widowed mother, James Burton Nichols won scholarships to finance his studies of chemistry at Cornell University where he conducted a senior research project with Wilder D. Bancroft. Nichols went to Wisconsin where he was introduced to sedimentation techniques by a construction of a pioneer optical centrifuge and its use in pigment characterization, and he later was involved in the early development of the ultra-centrifuge. Nichols later had a long career at Du Pont, from applying ultracentrifugal techniques to industrial problems to contributing to the evolution of new instruments and polymer characterization.
Bruce J. Nicholson was born in Queensland, Australia, where he focused on science through school, though he also enjoyed participating in school plays and debate. After receiving his bachelor's from the University of Queensland, he had his first independent research experience in John Mansbridge's laboratory; he went on to be mentored by Burt Zerner, an enzymologist, and Robert L. Blakely, completing an honors thesis on inhibition kinetics in jack bean urease. He studied neurobiology at Caltech, and remained there for his postdoctoral studies. He then earned a faculty position at the State University of New York, Buffalo, where he worked with Daniel B. Gros on gap junction proteins. He discusses his research, his experience as a Pew scholar, and his family.
Alfred O. C. Nier was born in Minnesota in 1911 to parents who had emigrated from Germany. Having been interested in radios during high school, Nier decided to study electrical engineering when he enrolled at the University of Minnesota in 1927. When he graduated in 1931 he pursued engineering jobs; however, few firms were hiring due to the Depression. Nier earned a master's degree in electrical engineering, though most of his research experience was in physics; he began his doctoral research at a time when quantum mechanics and X-rays were burgeoning fields of study. After much deliberation Nier chose to work with John Tate, head of the physics department. Subsequently, Tate assigned Nier to work on mass spectrometry and in the mid-1930s Nier built his first mass spectrometer. Nier spent the majority of his doctoral research obtaining a precise understanding of how mass spectrometers worked and how he could improve the instruments to enhance his isotopic abundance studies. After completing his Ph.D. in 1936, Nier was awarded a National Research Council Fellowship. He elected to work with Kenneth T. Bainbridge at Harvard University. By December Nier began establishing more precise isotopic abundances than the ones F. W. Aston produced in 1915. Nier returned to the University of Minnesota after completing his post-doctoral research in 1938 beginning a long career in mass spectrometry at his alma mater. In the fall of 1939 Nier became involved in work related to uranium-235 and UF6/UBr4 (Nier refers to UF6 in the interview but references UBr4 in some publications). Nier, with E. T. Booth, J. R. Dunning, and A. V. Grosse, demonstrated conclusively via mass spectrometry that uranium-235 was the isotope that underwent slow neutron fission. As his research group at Minnesota was the only group capable of analyzing uranium he was ordered to begin separating uranium-235 on his 180¬∞ mass spectrometer. After Pearl Harbor and the United States's official entry into World War II, Nier and his research team worked under the command of Harold C. Urey as part of the Manhattan Project. Nier's mass spectrometry expertise would prove invaluable to the war effort. After World War II, Nier returned to the University of Minnesota where he remained as a Professor. Nier's post-war mass spectrometry research touched on many areas including electrical detection, atmospheric studies and mass spectrometers for rockets, geochemistry, and precise masses. Nier participated in the upper atmosphere Aerobee flights throughout the 1960s, the Viking Project in the 1970s, and the Pioneer Venus project. During this atmospheric work Nier became friends and collaborators with Klaus Biemann. Throughout his oral history Nier discusses his many publications, the instrument details of many mass spectrometers, his awards, and his interesting career. Nier explained that his short attention span and unique education in physics and electrical engineering allowed him to capitalize on the new field of mass spectrometry when the country needed his expertise most.
Janko Nikoliƒá-≈Ωugiƒá was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. As a child, he found molecular biology fascinating, and decided to specialize in natural sciences for secondary school. Nikoliƒá-≈Ωugiƒá realized there were no careers for molecular biologists in Yugoslavia, so decided to become a physician. He entered Belgrade University Medical School, where Miodrag L. Lukiƒá and Marija Mostarica-Stojkoviƒá encouraged him to work in the United States. Nikoliƒá-≈Ωugiƒá spent summers working with Henry H. Wortis at Tufts University, which influenced his decision to leave clinical medicine and pursue a career in the United States. After finishing his doctoral degree in Yugoslavia, he took a postdoc in Michael J. Bevan's lab at the University of California, San Diego, studying intrathymic T cells, then accepted a position at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dimitar B. Nikolov grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, the only child of a mother who is still a chemist and a father who was an electrical engineer. Nikolov often accompanied his mother to her lab, and he feels that he is a scientist because of both genes and upbringing. He enrolled in the biotechnology program at Sofia University, and he completed master's degrees in both physics and biology. After the fall of the Berlin Wall it became easier for Nikolov to attend a foreign university, and he decided to apply to a PhD program in the United States. He chose Rockefeller University at first for neuroscience, but he later switched to structural biology and worked on transcription proteins in Steven Burley's lab. After finishing his PhD, Nikolov accepted a faculty position at Sloan-Kettering Institute. His research has focused on axon guidance molecules in early development. Nikolov discusses his funding history, the impact of the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences grant on his research, and his belief that collaboration between academia and industrial science is important. He concludes his interview with a discussion of his professional goals and his future research on cell signaling and communication in neural development.
Frank R. Nissel recounts his upbringing and multi-lingual education in Berlin, Germany and Egypt during the rise of Hilter's regime. He later earned his M.S. in chemical engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1946, and eventually pursued a successful career at Union Carbide Corporation and then as co-founder of Prodex Corporation and Welex. Nissel used his mechanical instincts to revolutionize plastics machinery by making it more efficient and less expensive than its competitors, and in time was honored membership into the Plastics Hall of Fame.
Lee Ann Niswander was born in Bluffton, Ohio. She loved school, especially mathematics and science. After high school, she worked on dude ranches for a few years before matriculating at the University of Colorado. She worked as a technician at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center before attending Case Western University. She also spent three months in Sweden, learning microdissection and microcloning, working on a phenotype that arises from a deletion of a part of mouse chromosome 7 and that has an early embryonic phenotype during gastrulation. She now works at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She studies limb development in the chick embryo, neural tube patterning, and feather bud development. She also teaches at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Jeffrey Noebels first planned to major in French literature at Reed College, but Mary Meikle’s class in physiological psychology captured 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 was offered a generous startup package and founded the Developmental Neruogenetics Laboratory.
Donald Noyces comments on his childhood in Iowa, his years at Grinnell College, his experience at Columbia University as a graduate student, and his position at the University of California at Berkeley. Noyce also discusses the faculty, the chemistry administration, the changing atmosphere with respect to organic chemistry, 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 D. C. , 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 Ph.D. , 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.