Interview with Neal Lane, University Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University, with an additional affiliation at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Lane recounts his childhood in Oklahoma and his education at the University of Oklahoma, where Chun Lin became his thesis advisor for his research on the excitation of a sodium atom from its ground state. He discusses his postdoctoral appointment at Queen’s University of Belfast to work with Alex Dalgarno before taking a position at JILA in Boulder. Lane describes his work with Sydney Geltman and the opportunity to take a faculty position at Rice, and he discusses his role as NSF physics division director. He narrates his decision to become chancellor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, before returning to Rice to serve as provost. Lane describes how the Clinton administration invited him to lead the NSF. He explains the importance of direct communication with OMB, his relationship with Al Gore, and the key guidance offered by National Academy reports. Lane describes the LIGO effort from his vantage point at the NSF, and he explains his time as director of OSTP and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. Lane discusses his work for PCAST and in the creation of the NNSA, and he describes returning to Rice after Gore lost the presidency, where the Baker Institute allowed him an environment to continue working in science and policy. At the end of the interview, Lane emphasizes the power of human connections as the foundation of all good science and policy endeavors.
This is an interview with Martha Krebs, former director of the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation for Penn State in Philadelphia and advisor to the Defense Science Study Group at the Institute for Defense Analysis. She recounts her childhood in postwar Japan and then central Pennsylvania, and she describes her interest in science and the formative influence of Sputnik on her ambitions during her time in a Catholic high school. Krebs explains her decision to attend Catholic University where she knew she wanted to pursue a degree in physics from the beginning. She discusses the importance of securing a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship and the family considerations that influenced her decision to stay at Catholic for graduate school, where she studied under Tomoyasu Tanaka, who was working on hydrogen bonds in ferroelectrics. Krebs describes the opportunities leading to her first postgraduate job in the Science Policy Research Division of the Congressional Research Service which led to her work on the Energy Subcommittee of the Science and Technology Committee, and she provides context on the major issues relating to federal energy policy in the mid-1970s and the rebalancing of power between the White House and Congress in the post-Watergate era. She narrates the origins of the Department of Energy during the Carter administration and she describes the circumstances that led to her tenure as staff director of the Energy Subcommittee which was becoming increasingly important to national developments in renewable and efficient energy sources. Krebs describes the major partisan and industry dynamics that shaped her work on the committee, particularly with the ascendancy of the conservative movement in the 1980s. She explains her decision to move to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which was looking to reinvent itself beyond high-energy physics with new projects in relativistic heavy ion collider projects. She describes the central influence of the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements in the relationship between the Lab and the DOE, and she describes the events leading to her work as director of the Office of Science in the DOE for the Clinton administration. Krebs discusses the collapse of the SSC project at the beginning of her tenure and her contributions to the Office of Energy Research and the applied R & D programs and how she understood the relationship between DOE and OMB on science policy generally during the Clinton years. She describes the state of high energy physics during this time and the DOE’s involvement in nanotechnology research, her decision to join the California NanoSystems Institute, and then her decision to become director of energy efficiency at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. At the end of the interview, Krebs reflects on her career and offers insight into how U.S. national policy can be best directed toward further gains in energy efficiency into the future.
In this interview, Lee Pondrom, Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, recounts his childhood in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston and describes his early interest in science. He explains his motivations to attend Southern Methodist University, where he pursued a degree in physics. Pondrom discusses his graduate work at the University of Chicago where the long-range influence of the Manhattan Project remained strong, even in the early and mid-1950s. He describes his summer research work at Los Alamos, and his thesis research on cyclotrons and pi mesons under the direction of Albert Crewe and Uli Kruse. Pondrom conveys the feeling of excitement at the discovery of parity violation while he was a graduate student, his postdoctoral work on the Nevis cyclotron while at Columbia, and he describes his Air Force service after he defended his dissertation. He describes the opportunities leading to his tenure at the University of Wisconsin and a research agenda that included long-term projects at the Chicago cyclotron, and at Fermilab and at Argonne. Pondrom discusses his contributions to CP violation, hyperon decay and how computers have been useful over the course of the career. He describes the origins of Fermilab and his experiences at Madison during the student unrest during the late 1960s, where bombers targeted science buildings. Pondrom discusses the significance of the E8 experiment as an extension of the Garwin-Lederman experiment and the origins of the Tevatron project. He explains the ups and downs of U.S. high energy physics during the SSC years and he surmises what would be known now in particle physics had the SSC been completed. At the end of the interview, Pondrom describes his extensive collaborations in Russia and his study of Soviet-era physics, including his work on Stalin’s nuclear diplomacy.
This is an interview with David Kaplan, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. He recounts his childhood in New York and then Seattle, and he explains his complex Jewish-Israeli family roots. Kaplan describes his early aptitude for math, and he discusses his education at Chapman College and his transfer to Berkeley, where he completed his undergraduate degree in physics. He explains his near-accidental entrée into the graduate program in physics at the University of Washington, and he describes the formative influence of Ann Nelson. He conveys the excitement surrounding supersymmetry during his time in graduate school and his research on quark masses, and he recounts his postdoctoral research, which was split between Argonne Lab and the University of Chicago. Kaplan discusses the crisis of confidence he felt in his early career and he describes his second postdoctoral appointment at SLAC where he worked with Savas Dimopoulos on supersymmetry and became involved in the B physics endeavor. He conveys his long-held contempt for string theory and attacks it on both sociological and scientific grounds, and he explains the circumstances leading to his hire and tenure at Johns Hopkins. Kaplan describes how he used startup funds to invite speakers to the department, and he explains how imposter syndrome affects faculty members as much as anyone else. He explains the various issues surrounding the cancellation of the SSC, the viability of the LHC, and the prospects of the ILC, and he offers his view on what these projects say about the state of particle physics globally. Kaplan discusses the significance of WIMP dark matter, and why more physicists should work on issues beyond string theory and collider physics. At the end of the interview, Kaplan describes how he tries to make his research an antidote to the problems he sees in the field, and he discusses his ongoing interest in general Higgs decays.
Elizabeth Paris interviews Wolfgang Panofsky, Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center from 1961 to 1984. In this interview, Panofsky discusses the design and construction of particle accelerators and colliders at SLAC, especially the SPEAR (Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring) collider, and his work with Gerard O’Neil, Bernard Gittelman, Carl Barber, and Burt Richter. Panofsky describes his influence on science and national security policy as a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee, his role in the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and his involvement with the Atomic Energy Commission and the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
In this interview with Robert Crompton, he discusses the Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC), which he first attended in 1963. He reviews the meetings and how he happened to be at them and what has brought other Australians nowadays. Crompton mentioned Art Phelps, Leonard Loeb, Sir Leonard Huxley, Bob St. John, Phyllis St. John, Helen Crompton, Michael Morrison, David Golden, Dick Fowler, Syd Haydon, Mary Morrison, Steve Buckman, Mike Brunger, Frank Read, J. S. Townsend, Frank Llewellyn-Jones, Charlotte Loeb, Valery Loeb, Rob Varney, Leon Fisher, Felix Smith, Ed Gerjuoy, Ben Bederson, and Chun Lin.
In this interview Robert Doering discusses topics such as: his family background and childhood; his undergraduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Philip Morrison; Jack Rapaport; nuclear physics; doing his graduate work at Michigan State University; Sherwood Haynes; quantum mechanics taught by Mort Gordon; Aaron Galonsky; working at the cyclotron laboratory; George Bertsch; teaching at the University of Virginia; low-energy heavy-ion collisions; switching to industrial physics research; beginning work at Texas Instruments (TI); working with semiconductors; Don Redwine; Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); George Heilmeier; Semiconductor Research Corporation; SEMATECH; Moore's Law; complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS); Birch Bayh and Robert Dole; Morris Chang; research and development changes throughout his career.