Interview with Diane Kewley-Port, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University in the Speech and Hearing Department. Kewley-Port recounts her involvement in the Acoustical Society of America over the years, including serving as Chair of the Speech Technical Committee, member of the Executive Council, and Vice President. She describes her childhood in Cleveland and her early interest in science and engineering. Kewley-Port then discusses her undergrad and graduate years at University of Michigan, as well as the year she spent working in Denmark for a Danish computer company. She also talks about her time as a research assistant in the Neurocommunications Lab at Johns Hopkins, as well as at Haskins Laboratories, before pursuing her PhD at City University of New York. Kewley-Port reflects on how important ASA has been throughout her career, especially the mentorship and support she has received.
Interview with Milton Dean Slaughter, Affiliate Professor of Physics at Florida International University. Slaughter recounts his childhood in New Orleans, his involvement in the civil rights movement, and he describes his undergraduate work in physics at Louisiana State University and his graduate work in theoretical physics at the University of New Orleans, where his dissertation focused on electron-laser pulse scattering. Slaughter discusses his long tenure in the department of physics at UNO, and prior to that his research in theoretical physics at Los Alamos. At the end of the interview, he discusses his long-term interest in gravity.
Interview with Ronald E. Mickens, Distinguished Fuller E. Callaway Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, at Clark Atlanta University. Mickens recounts his childhood in segregated Virginia and how his entrepreneurial instincts and exposure to farm life fed into his budding interest in science. He explains the opportunities that led to his undergraduate education at Fisk University, where he majored in physics on the basis of his ability to combine his talents in math and chemistry. Mickens describes his formative summer research at Vanderbilt University on thermodynamics, and he explains the influence that his graduate advisor Wendell Holladay played in his life and his decision to continue at Vanderbilt for his graduate work. He discusses his involvement with the Civil Rights movement during his time in Nashville and how he dealt with the possibility of getting drafted for military service in Vietnam. Mickens describes his postdoctoral research in the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, and he explains how events that can appear to be supernatural must be explicable within the single physical world. He describes his research at MIT as a time to expand on his thesis work on Regge poles, and he explains how his work with James Young connected him with his research at Los Alamos. Mickens describes his teaching and research record while he was a professor at Fisk, and he discusses his summer research at SLAC and his focus on the Pomeron and elastic scattering. He describes his many research visits to Europe and his work at CERN where he probed the theoretical underpinnings of high energy scattering. Mickens explains his fascination with Newtonian formulation equations and the utility of his visits to the summer Aspen Institute program. He describes some of the frictions he experienced with the administration at Fisk, his work at JILA, and the professional and personal considerations that compelled him to accept a professorship at Clark Atlanta and its transformation from Atlanta University. Mickens conveys the fundamental importance that geometry and numerical modeling has played in his career, and he contextualizes his academic achievements by emphasizing that everyone in his family has achieved a terminal degree. At the end of the interview, Mickens offers a history of the origins of the National Society of Black Physicists, and explains the significance of, and the lessons that should be learned, from Edward Bouchet’s life.
In this interview, David Zierler interviews Robert Birgeneau, Silverman Professor of Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Birgeneau recounts his working class childhood in Toronto and the unlikely circumstances leading to his enrollment at the University of Toronto. He explains his interest in physics from a mathematical perspective as an undergraduate, and he describes his graduate work at Yale, where he studied electron spin resonance spectroscopy. Birgeneau describes his involvement in the civil rights movement, and his postdoctoral work at Oxford and at Bell Labs, which sent him to conduct research at Brookhaven. He explains his move to MIT, and his work as both department chair and Dean of Science. Birgeneau describes his tenure as president of the University of Toronto, and the recruitment process leading to his tenure as chancellor at Berkeley. At the end of the interview, Birgeneau explains how important it was to retain a physics research agenda even while running major universities, and he describes the pleasures of returning to teaching physics after spending much of his career in academic administration.