Interview with Stephen Seltzer, retired from the National Institute of Standards and Technology where he was Leader of the Dosimetry Group in the Radiation Physics Division. Seltzer discusses his current interests in photoelectric cross sections and he explains why NIST supports research in radiation physics. He recounts his childhood in the Washington DC area, he describes his education at Virginia Tech and his first job at the National Bureau of Standards. Seltzer describes the advances in ionizing radiation at NIST during his junior years and the formative mentorship provided by Martin Berger and his pioneering work in radiation science and Monte Carlo calculations. He explains why Monte Carlo codes provide a solution to the Boltzmann Transport Equation and why electron transport research provides value to space exploration and how NIST contributed to proton therapies for cancer. Seltzer discusses his administrative service as leader of the Radiation Interactions and Dosimetry Group, and he explains his motivations to serve as a mentor to younger colleagues at NIST. At the end of the interview he reflects on the budgetary environment at NIST over his tenure and why young physicists should consider NIST as an excellent place to pursue a career.
Interview with Joseph DeSimone, Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford. DeSimone describes Gambhir’s pioneering work in molecular imaging, and he explains the value in his multiple departmental appointments for his research agenda. He recounts his upbringing in the Philadelphia area and his undergraduate focus on polymer chemistry at Ursinus College. DeSimone discusses his graduate research in the same field at Virginia Tech, where he studied CO2 polymers under the direction of James McGrath. He explains the opportunities that led to his appointment at UNC Chapel Hill, and he discusses the research advantage of his dual position at NCSU. DeSimone discusses his advisory work for the NSF, and he describes how he became involved in bio-nanotechnology and gene therapy research. He explains his increasing interests in entrepreneurial research. He narrates the origins of the Carbon 3D company and the possibilities he saw in 3D printing. DeSimone reflects on the fantastic financial success of the company, and he explains his decision to return to academia at Stanford, and at the end of the interview, he describes the value of Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One” approach for science research.