Daniel P. Raleigh
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Daniel P. Raleigh grew up in Arcata, California, the youngest of four children. His father was a professor at Humboldt State University, his mother a homemaker who had also been a teacher. In addition, all three siblings went into education. Raleigh spent much of his free time outdoors, even for reading. He attended Humboldt State University's laboratory elementary school and then junior high and high school in Arcata, California, public schools, remembering his education as being rather uninspiring, except for mathematics. His extracurricular activities focused on the outdoors: hiking, camping, and the like. He attended Humboldt State, interested in both mathematics and science at first, but an excellent chemistry faculty member inspired him to pursue chemistry. He loved math too and could have majored in it, but he felt he lacked the "spark" to be an original mathematician. Raleigh decided to do graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; there he joined Robert G. Griffin's laboratory, feeling that Humboldt's strong chemistry faculty had prepared him well for graduate studies. While working in Griffin's lab Raleigh developed new theoretical and technical methods and became interested in applying his methodologies to biological problems. For that reason he chose Christopher Dobson's lab at University of Oxford for postdoctoral work in biochemistry. While he was there he met his future wife, Clare P. Grey. Partly from frustration with the relative lack of resources at British universities Raleigh and Grey decided to seek positions in the United States. A postdoc at DuPont Merck Company convinced Raleigh that he did not want to be in a corporate research environment. Like most two-career couples, Raleigh and Grey found that obtaining positions together was challenging; they accepted positions at the State University New York, Stony Brook. He immediately undertook establishing his lab, developing his own form of lab management and mentoring, while at the same time taking on administrative tasks. He purposely chose to avoid corporate funding sources, preferring the freedom offered under traditional funding in the United States. Given the nature of Stony Brook's academic environment, when Raleigh was not writing journal articles or teaching he developed seminar courses for undergraduates, discussing at length the differences between teaching undergraduate and graduate students. He is interested in the history of science, as he feels it is important to place scientific findings in a broader context. Although an academic career afforded a great degree of flexibility, balancing personal life and career has been a challenge for Raleigh. When not working, he committed himself to some environmental causes, though he admitted that he loves his work so much that he feels no sacrifice at having so little free time. His current research centers on conformational changes in proteins, and he talks a little about the practical aspects of his work. He answers the interviewers questions about patents; serendipity in science; the roles of competition and collaboration in science; ethics in science; the importance of overseeing students' work to ensure accuracy and integrity; and the problems inherent in regulating science. The interview ends with a proclamation of Raleigh's professional satisfaction; a discussion of his personal goals; and reflections on his career choices.
|1981||Humboldt State University||BA||Chemistry and Mathematics|
|1988||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||PhD||Chemistry|
University of Oxford
DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company
State University of New York at Stony Brook
American Institute of Chemists Award
|1983 to 1985||
NSF Graduate Fellowship
NATO Fellowship (Declined)
|1988 to 1991||
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship
|1995 to 2000||
Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
|1996 to 2000||
National Science Foundation CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development Program) Award
Table of Contents
Family background. Childhood interests and experiences. Interest in reading and outdoor activities. Attends Humboldt State University's laboratory elementary school. Junior high and high school in Arcata, California, public schools. Extracurricular activities. Chooses to pursue chemistry rather than mathematics at Humboldt State University. Faculty at Humboldt State. Decides to do graduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Joins Robert G. Griffin's laboratory at MIT. Humboldt's strong chemistry faculty prepared students well for graduate studies. Pedigrees in science. Financial arrangements while at college. Develops new theoretical and technical methods while working in Griffin's lab. Interest in applying methodologies tobiological problems. Chooses Christopher M. Dobson's lab at University of Oxford for postdoctoral work in biochemistry. Meets his future wife, Clare P. Grey, while at Oxford. British universities. Seeking position in the United States. Postdoc at DuPont-Merck Company. Corporate employment.
Challenge of seeking a position as half of a two-career couple. Positions at State University New York, Stony Brook. Tenure. Women and science faculties. Lab management style. Stony Brook students. Mentoring students. Administrativetasks. Structure of Stony Brook's graduate chemistry program. Funding. Grant-writing process. Corporate funding. Writing journal articles. Teaching. Developing a seminar course for undergraduates. Differences between teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Interest in the history of science. Importance of placing scientific findings in a broader context.
Childhood extracurricular activities. Diversity at Stony Brook. Higher education in New York. Duties as the chemistry department graduate coordinator. Other administrative responsibilities. Reviewing journal articles. Reviewing funding proposals for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Attendance at professional conferences. Role in the lab. Grading student work. Balancing personal life and career.
Flexibility afforded by an academic career. Work schedule. Leisure activities. Current research on conformational changes in proteins. Importance of scientists communicating with the general public. Practical aspects of research. Theoretical problem of patenting scientific discoveries. Competition and collaboration with other scientists. Ethics in science. Overseeing students' workto ensure accuracy and integrity. Regulating science. Professional satisfaction. Personal goals. Reflections on his career choices.