Thomas G. Mason

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Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Video conference
Usage Information and Disclaimer
Disclaimer text

This transcript is based on a tape-recorded interview deposited at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. The AIP's interviews have generally been transcribed from tape, edited by the interviewer for clarity, and then further edited by the interviewee. If this interview is important to you, you should consult earlier versions of the transcript or listen to the original tape. For many interviews, the AIP retains substantial files with further information about the interviewee and the interview itself. Please contact us for information about accessing these materials.

Please bear in mind that: 1) This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2) An interview must be read with the awareness that different people's memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and one's feelings about an event. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. The original typescript is available.

Preferred citation

In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:

Interview of Thomas G. Mason by David Zierler on September 23, 2020,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,

For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.


In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Thomas Mason, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA. Mason recounts his childhood in Frederick, MD, and he describes the influence of his father, who was a zoologist. Mason discusses his undergraduate education at the University of Maryland where he pursued a dual degree in physics and electrical engineering, and he describes the opportunity that led to his graduate work at Princeton. He explains his work at Exxon Research and Engineering Lab, where he worked with Dave Weitz, and he describes the growth of soft matter condensed physics. Mason discusses his dissertation in micro-rheology and some of the broader questions in Brownian systems when colloids are micro-dispersed. He describes his postdoctoral work in France with Jerome Bibette, where he focused on the science of emulsification, and he discusses his senior postdoctoral position at Johns Hopkins, where he worked with Scot Kuo who was concentrating on the rheology of concentrated DNA. Mason explains his decision to join Exxon as a principal investigator, where he researched asphaltenes, and he discusses some of the broader advances in soft matter physics fostered at the Exxon lab. He describes his motivations for returning to academia, and in particular his desire to teach, he explains the opportunity leading to his tenure at UCLA, and he describes his contributions to the NanoSystems Institute. Mason discusses his involvement in many of the clinical and therapeutic aspects of soft matter physics, and at the end of the interview, he offers insight on where his broad interests in platform technologies might be relevant as his field continues to grow.


The interviewee has not given permission for this interview to be shared at this time. Transcripts will be updated as they become available to the public. For any questions about this policy, please contact [email protected].