In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews David J. Pine, Silver Professor, professor of physics, and Chair of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Pine explains the background of NYU’s takeover of Brooklyn Poly and where these changes fit within the overall expansion of soft matter physics in the U.S. He recounts his childhood as the son of a pastor and moving many times as his father preached for different congregations. He discusses his interests and talents in the sciences during high school, and he explains his decision to attend Wheaton College. Pine describes how he developed his interest in physics in college and he describes his research at Argonne. He discusses his decision to go to Cornell for his graduate work, where he studied under Bob Cotts and did research on hydrogen diffusion in metals. Pine recounts his postdoctoral research at Pitt, where he worked with Walter Goldberg on spinodal decomposition, and he describes his first faculty position at Haverford, where he built a lab from scratch focusing on the diffusive dynamics of shear fluids. He explains his decision to accept a position with Exxon Labs, which he describes as an excellent place for basic science, and he describes the factors leading to his appointment on the chemical engineering faculty at UCSB, where he focused his research on polymer solutions and colloidal suspension. Pine describes some of the exciting advances in physics that were happening at the Kavli Institute. He describes his collaborations with Paul Chaikin and the prospect of joining the faculty at NYU, where he has continued his research. At the end of the interview, Pine reflects on how he has tried to maximize the benefits of working at the nexus of several disciplines, and he explains why entropy has been a concept of central importance to all of his research.
In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Arthur Bienenstock, professor emeritus of photon science and associate director of the Wallenberg Research Link at Stanford University. Bienenstock describes his childhood in New York City and his education at the Bronx High School of Science, his studies at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, and his graduate work at Harvard. Bienenstock describes his postdoc work Harwell, the atomic energy research lab in England, his start as an assistant professor at Harvard, and his work in Washington at the Naval Research Lab and the National Bureau of Standards. Bienenstock discusses his move to Stanford, and the influence of the anti-war protests that were taking place in the late 1960s. He discusses the various strategies he has employed to balance his research and administrative duties over the years, and his involvement with the synchrotron radiation laboratory and with SLAC. Toward the end of the discussion, Bienenstock discusses his work in the realm of science policy at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House and as special assistant to the president for federal research policy at Stanford.
Family background; education at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institution, New York University (Richard Courant); works as engineer at Republic Aviation while a graduate student in mathematics at Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics; Ph.D. thesis on rolling up of von Karman vortex sheet (Kurt Otto Friedrichs). To Convair, 1954; Atlas development program (Hans Friedrich); origins of the University of California, San Diego; moved up to General Dynamics Research & Development division, 1958; organizing and filming the Convair Lecture Series (von Karman, George Gamow). Enters government committee work (von Karman, Courant); transition to Department of Defense; the Kennedy administration (Robert McNamara, Herbert York, Harold Brown); member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC). Takes position as vice-president at North American Aviation; leaves as a result of Bobby Baker scandal, 1964. Starts non-defense division of Rand Corporation. Commercial contact with scientists in Soviet Union. Defense Science Board Task Force on High-Energy Lasers. Project 137 (Eugene Wigner, John Wheeler, Oscar Morgenstern, Marvin Goldberger); Project Bassoon (Nick Christofilos); A. G. Hill, James McCormack; origins of JASON (Charles Townes, Goldberger).
Born in Russia 1921, moved to New York 1922; Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (physics); Purdue University (Ph.D.), 1942- 1949; works teaching military students, 1943-1945; cyclotron and beta ray spectroscopy projects (related to Manhattan Project); Karl Lark-Horovitz as blanket-adviser; semiconductor project with Ron Smith; spreading resistance measurements; Edward Teller, John Bardeen, William Shockley; the self-transistor effect (Bell Laboratories); third electrode work by Seymour Benzer, 1949; semiconductor project; comments on Lark-Horovitz. Also prominently mentioned are: Joseph A. Becker, Walter Houser Brattain, Bill Fan, Arthur Ginsburg, Vivian Annabelle Johnson, Bernard Kurrelmeyer, Robert Green Sachs, Isidor Walerstein, Hubert J. Yearian; American Physical Society, Brooklyn College, Manhattan Project, and United States Army Signal Corps. Interview conducted as part of the International Project in the History of Solid State Physics.