In this interview, David Zierler, Oral Historian for AIP, interviews Peter Delfyett, professor of optics, electrical engineering, and physics, in the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida. Delfyett describes the origins and history of the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), and his current work in semiconductor diode-based ultrafast lasers, for which he was recently recognized with a major award. He recounts his family ancestry, and he describes his childhood in New York City and how his grandfather developed his sense of wonder in math and science. He describes his undergraduate education and lab work in electrical engineering at City College. He discusses his graduate work in physical optics and laser pulses, under the direction of Robert Alfano. Delfyett describes how he pursues science by looking for the “bottleneck,” understand the physics of it, and make devices that allow him to understand new theories and phenomena to go back and solve that bottleneck. He describes his postdoctoral work at Bellcore, where he developed the fastest and most powerful semiconductor laser in the world. Delfyett discusses his decisions to join the faculty at UCF, and what was attractive about joining the efforts at CREOL. He discusses his experience building a lab and taking on graduate students, and he describes the technological and experimental growth in lasers over the years. Delfyett describes his interest in positively affecting the regional economy through his research. At the end of the interview, he shares his views on some ways that the science community can continue to improve and build upon its efforts toward greater diversity and inclusivity.