University of California, Irvine

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Jonathan Dorfan, emeritus director of SLAC, and emeritus president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University. Dorfan recounts his childhood in South Africa and his experiences with apartheid, and he explains how he developed his early interests in science. He discusses his time at the University of Cape Town and a formative visit he made to SLAC where his older brother was working. Dorfan describes his subsequent studies at UC-Irvine and he explains his interest in pursuing a graduate degree in particle physics and high-energy physics during the excitement surrounding the Standard Model. He discusses his move to SLAC to conduct research with rapid cycling bubble chambers which turned into his thesis. Dorfan describes his postdoctoral research at SLAC with Martin Perl and his involvement with the Mark I and Mark II experiments, and he describes the opportunities leading to his faculty position at SLAC. He discusses the centrality of the B-factory project, and he describes his considerations when he was offered the directorship at Fermilab. Dorfan describes the impact of the rise and fall of the SSC on SLAC, and he explains the leadership positions which at a certain point put him on track to assume the directorship of SLAC. He describes SLAC’s entrée to astrophysics and the strategic partnership it developed with NASA, and he reflects on whether this transition would have been conceivable to Panofsky’s founding vision for the lab. Dorfan describes the changing culture of SLAC and its increasingly bureaucratized nature toward the end of his directorship, his work in support of advancing cancer research at Stanford, and he discusses the circumstances leading to his directorship of the Okinawa Institute. At the end of the interview, Dorfan emphasizes continuity over change as the dominant theme of his career in science with an arc that has increasingly bent toward concerns of broad societal relevance.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, Enrico Gratton, professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California at Irvine, recounts his early childhood in Italy and what it was like to grow up as the son of a prominent astrophysicist. He describes his family’s move to Argentina, and his education at the University of Rome, where he completed a physics graduate thesis on the status of the DNA molecule, condensation, and chromosomes during a time of student uprisings and turmoil in the late 1960s. Gratton discusses his postgraduate work in the Italian oil industry before attaining a postdoctoral and then faculty position in biochemistry at the University of Illinois. He describes his interests in photochemistry and uranium-238 and the circumstances leading to his creation of the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, and his interest in bringing microscopy to the forefront of physics. He describes the origins of the NIH’s long-term support of the Lab and his formative collaboration with William Mantulin on protein dynamics. Gratton discusses the many clinical and therapeutic aspects of his research, and he explains his decision to move the Lab en masse to Irvine. He describes the many patents he has achieved to advance human health, and he discusses his motivation to start Globals Software and how the Lab has continued to grow and improve over the years given UCI’s strengths in the biological sciences. At the end of the interview, Gratton describes some of the major advances that have occurred in DNA research over the course of his career, and some of the ongoing mysteries surrounding biological aging and sickness.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
video conference
Abstract

In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Kandice Tanner, Stadtman Investigator at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Tanner recounts her upbringing in Trinidad and Tobago, and she shares that her mother "knew" she was going to be a physicist before Tanner herself decided on this career track. She describes how her abilities in math and science prompted her to go to the all-boys school for high school, and she discusses the factors and opportunities leading to her undergraduate studies at South Carolina State University. Tanner describes some of the cultural adjustments coming both to the United States and to attending a historically Black college, and she explains how an encounter at a conference of the National Society of Black Physicists led to her acceptance to the graduate physics program at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. She describes her research in biophysics under the direction of Enrico Gratton and she discusses her dissertation on the deconvolution of spectral photonics of a mammalian brain. Tanner discusses her postdoctoral work at University of California, Irvine where she worked with Bruce Tromberg on building a joint microscope that did optical tomography and two-photon microscopy. She describes her subsequent work at Berkeley in Mina Bissell's lab, which is where she developed her career interests in cancer research, and she discusses the formative effect of Ken Yamada's work. Tanner explains the attractions that led her to join the NCI, which offered unparalleled advantages of in vivo research. At the end of the interview, Tanner describes her current research on breast cancer and glioblastomas, and she explains why she wants to focus her research in the future on immunotherapies as among the most promising avenues in cancer treatment. 

Interviewed by
Keynyn Brysse
Interview date
Location
University of Cambridge, England
Abstract

In this interview, Neil Harris discusses topics such as: ozone layer depletion; his background and his studies at the University of California, Irvine under F. S. Rowland; European Ozone Coordinating Unit; stratosphere; Mack McFarland; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Antarctica; ultraviolet light absorption; Rumen Bojkov; John Pyle; Bob Watson; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC); Peter Bloomfield; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); Paul Crutzen; Mario Molina; Dan Albritton; Jim Lovelock; Joe Farman; World Meteorological Organization (WMO); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Montreal Protocol; DuPont Company.

Interviewed by
Alexei Kojevnikov
Interview date
Abstract

Early education in Kentucky and at Phillips Exeter Academy. World War II service in Navy. College. Graduate work in theoretical nuclear physics at Princeton. David Bohm and J. A. Wheeler. Participation in the crash hydrogen bomb program. Post-doctorate at the University of Indiana. Fulbright year at Heisenberg's Institute. Research year at Los Alamos, 1957-1958. Teaching at Brandeis. Administrative positions at University of California, Irvine and New Mexico Institute of Mining Technology. Subsequent positions at the University of Maryland and biomedical start-up company. APS Education Officer, Director of American Institute of Physics, 1987-1993.

Interviewed by
Alexei Kojevnikov
Interview date
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Abstract

Early education in Kentucky and at Phillips Exeter Academy. World War II service in Navy. College. Graduate work in theoretical nuclear physics at Princeton. David Bohm and J. A. Wheeler. Participation in the crash hydrogen bomb program. Post-doctorate at the University of Indiana. Fulbright year at Heisenberg's Institute. Research year at Los Alamos, 1957-1958. Teaching at Brandeis. Administrative positions at University of California, Irvine and New Mexico Institute of Mining Technology. Subsequent positions at the University of Maryland and biomedical start-up company. APS Education Officer, Director of American Institute of Physics, 1987-1993.