Oral histories of 70 eminent scientists and engineers who immigrated to the United States in the 20th century. The oral histories provide moving testimony and insights into the nature of immigrant scientists’ scientific work and enterprise, as well as their struggles and successes in weaving themselves into the cultural fabric of American life. Many of these stories highlight historical events and social conditions that led individuals and families to flee their home countries. Other interviews shed light on the educational and professional opportunities that aspiring and experienced scientists sought out in the United States.
Frank R. Nissel begins the interview by describing his early childhood and schooling in Berlin, Germany, and subsequent move to Egypt due to the emergence of Adolf Hitler's policies. Arriving in Egypt at the age of…
- 2010-Jun-24 – 2010-Jun-25
Isy Haas was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He and his parents were Jewish and Polish citizens, not automatically Turkish. They spoke French and German until World War II, when they ceased speaking German. Haas attended a…
- Interviewee Haas, Isy, 1934-
- Interviewer Brock, David C.
- Subject Haas, Isy, 1934-, Remington Rand, Inc., Fairchild (Firm), Moore, Gordon E., 1929-2023, Last, Jay T., Noyce, Robert N. (Robert Norton), 1927-1990, Diodes, Semiconductor, Integrated circuits, Teledyne, Inc., Texas Instruments Incorporated, Electrical engineers, Emigration and immigration
Vishva M. Dixit was born in Kisii, Kenya in 1956. His parents, who were originally from India, served as physicians in Kenya with the British Army, and they stayed in the country after their service. Dixit experienced…
- Interviewee Dixit, Vishva
- Interviewer Caruso, David J. (David Joseph), 1978-, Schneider, Sarah, 1991-
- Subject Emigration and immigration, Physicians, Molecular biology, Apoptosis, Cancer--Research, Genentech, Inc., Biotechnology, University of Michigan. Medical School, Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.). School of Medicine, University of Nairobi, Thrombospondins, Cancer--Treatment, Dixit, Vishva
In this interview, Michael Szwarc begins with his early interest in science while growing up in Poland, leading to his studies at the Warsaw Polytechnic Institute. Szwarc next describes his experiences from 1935, when…
Barbara A. Schaal was born in 1947 in Berlin, Germany. In 1950 the family immigrated to the United States where they met her aunt and uncle (her father’s brother) in Chicago, Illinois. As Schaal grew up, she started to…
- Interviewee Schaal, Barbara A., 1947-
- Interviewer Caruso, David J. (David Joseph), 1978-, Evans, Kenneth M., (Kenneth Mellinger)
- Subject Emigration and immigration, Schaal, Barbara A., 1947-, Washington University (Saint Louis, Mo.), Levin, Donald A., Science and state, Botany, Varmus, Harold, Agriculture, Immigrants--Cultural assimilation, COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-), Plants--Evolution
George A. Olah begins the interview with a description of his family and childhood years in Budapest, Hungary. Olah first developed an interest in chemistry after taking a chemistry course at the Technical University of…
- Interviewee Olah, George A. (George Andrew), 1927-2017
- Interviewer Thackray, Arnold, 1939-, Traynham, James G.
- Subject University of Southern California, Dow Chemical Company, Chemists, Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, Chemists--Biography, Nobel Prize winners, Olah, George A. (George Andrew), 1927-2017, Emigration and immigration
Luis Proenza was born in 1944 in Mexico City, Mexico. When he was growing up, his parents ran a family business. He grew up in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Acapulco, Mexico. Proenza remembers spending time by the ocean and…
- Interviewee Proenza, Luis M.
- Interviewer Evans, Kenneth M., (Kenneth Mellinger), Caruso, David J. (David Joseph), 1978-
- Subject Science and state, Minorities in science, Neurosciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Purdue University, University of Akron, College presidents, Academic-industrial collaboration, Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-, United States. Arctic Research Commission, Emigration and immigration, Proenza, Luis M.
Paul Weisz begins his oral history interview by discussing his family background in Austria-Hungary after World War I period, when his family moved to Berlin. Weisz was educated in the Gymnasium, where he developed an…
- 1986-Feb-03 (First session)
- 1986-Mar-17 (Second session)
- 1986-Jun-20 (Third session)
In this first of three interviews Herman Mark starts with his study of relatively stable free radicals under the direction of Wilhelm Schlenk, first in Vienna and then in Berlin. After a post doctoral period at the…
- Interviewee Mark, H. F. (Herman Francis), 1895-1992
- Interviewer Bohning, James J., Sturchio, Jeffrey L. (Jeffrey Louis), 1952-
- Subject Canadian International Paper Company, Polymers, Alfrey, Turner, 1918-1981, Macromolecules, Carothers, Wallace Hume, 1896-1937, Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie Aktiengesellschaft, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, Chemists--Biography, Mark, H. F. (Herman Francis), 1895-1992, Meyer, Kurt H. (Kurt Heinrich), 1883-1952, Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Chemie, Haber, Fritz, 1868-1934, Chemists, Cellulose, Emigration and immigration
In this interview, Herbert Morawetz traces his early life prior to leaving Czechoslovakia on the Nazi invasion and resettling in Canada, where he studied chemical engineering at the University of Toronto. He describes…
Herbert C. Brown studied at Crane Junior College, where he became fascinated by chemistry and its history; when Crane closed down, Brown was among the students invited to work in Nicholas D. Cheronis' Synthetical…
- Interviewee Brown, Herbert C. (Herbert Charles), 1912-2004
- Interviewer Bohning, James J.
- Subject University of Chicago, World War (1939-1945), United States. Office of Scientific Research and Development. National Defense Research Committee, Wayne State University, Purdue University, Emigration and immigration, Nobel Prize winners
Gilbert Stork begins his interview with a description of his childhood and family background in Paris. Stork and his family moved to the United States in 1939, and he decided to begin his graduate studies in chemistry…
- 1993-Mar-29 – 1993-Mar-30
- 1993-Apr-01 – 1993-Apr-02
Yusuf A. Hannun was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, though raised after the age of five in Beirut, Lebanon, the eldest of three siblings. His father was a medical officer in the British Army during the World War II and…
- Interviewee Hannun, Yusuf A., 1955-
- Interviewer Hathaway, Neil D.
- Sponsor Pew Charitable Trusts
- Subject Hannun, Yusuf A., 1955-, Education, Biomedical engineering, Protein kinase C, Diglycerides, Sphingolipids, Lebanese Civil War (Lebanon : 1975-1990), Lebanon--Beirut, Minorities in science, Molecular biologists, Medical scientists, Emigration and immigration
O. A. Battista begins the interview by describing his childhood in Cornwall, Canada, as one of eight siblings born to a poor, uneducated laborer and a housewife. Battista proudly details his family's hard-working nature…
- Interviewee Battista, O. A. (Orlando Aloysius), 1917-1995
- Interviewer Bohning, James J.
- Subject Hemostasis, Surgical, American Viscose Corporation, O. A. Battista Research Institute, Psychotropic drugs, Viscose process, Battista, O. A. (Orlando Aloysius), 1917-1995, Cellulose--Chemistry, FMC Corporation, University of Texas, Microcrystalline polymers, Chemists--Biography, Emigration and immigration
Richard E. Honig was born in Göttingen, Germany, the eldest of three boys. He attended Robert College, an American college in Istanbul, from which he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in electrical…
- Interviewee Honig, Richard E. (Richard Edward), 1917-2001
- Interviewer Grayson, Michael A.
- Subject Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Honig, Richard E. (Richard Edward), 1917-2001, American Society for Testing and Materials, Mass spectrometers, American Society for Mass Spectrometry, Physicists--Biography, Mass spectrometry, RCA Laboratories, Physicists, Emigration and immigration
Alfred Bader begins this interview with a discussion of his early years in Vienna, including his family background and Gymnasium education. This is followed by additional education in England, living in Canada as a…
- Interviewee Bader, Alfred R., 1924-2018
- Interviewer Thackray, Arnold, 1939-
- Subject Chemists--Biography, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Aldrich Chemical Company, Sigma Chemical Company, Chemistry, Organic, Harvard University, Murphy Paint Company, Jewish refugees, Bader, Alfred R., 1924-2018, Emigration and immigration
- 2004-Jul-14 (First session)
- 2004-Sep-01 (Second session)
Andrew S. Grove begins the first interview session with a description of his undergraduate life at the City College of New York, where exposure to influential professors shaped his professional outlook and personal…
Allan S. Hay begins the interview with a description of his secondary and undergraduate education in Alberta. After briefly describing his graduate work at the University of Illinois and a summer job at Du Pont, he…
- Interviewee Hay, Allan S., 1929-2017
- Interviewer Wise, George, Fine, Leonard W.
- Subject Hay, Allan S., 1929-2017, Plastics--Research, Chemistry, Polymers, Chemists, General Electric Company, Chemists--Biography, Polyphenylene oxide, University of Alberta, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Emigration and immigration
Gerald Weissmann was born in Austria, but when young, he and his family fled the Nazis, eventually ending up in New York City. After earning a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Columbia College, Weissmann, entered…
Born in Copenhagen, he grew up in Denmark, and was very involved in his father's Samfundshjælpen, which taught him the importance of collaboration between social classes. Topsøe studied at the Technical University,…
In his oral history Michael J. Dewar describes his education and long career in chemistry, both in academia and industry. He discusses his research and colleagues at Courtalds, Ltd. , his learning physical chemistry,…
Leo H. Sternbach begins the interview with a discussion of his family and childhood in Austria and Poland. He describes his early education during the First World War as well as his experiences working in his father's…
Rudolph Pariser's life has been significantly shaped by the historical events of the 20th century, from being born in China since his mother found refuge there during Russian Revolution while his father escaped from his…
This interview covers the life of Koji Nakanishi from his early education in Egypt to his current work as Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University and Director of the Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research in…
- Interviewee Nakanishi, Kōji, 1925-2019
- Interviewer Gortler, Leon B.
- Subject Nakanishi, Kōji, 1925-2019, Columbia University, Infrared spectroscopy, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Circular dichroism, Chemistry, Organic, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Tōhoku Daigaku, Tōkyō Kyōiku Daigaku, Nagoya Daigaku, Natural products--Research, Emigration and immigration
The interview begins with Konrad E. Bloch describing his childhood in Neisse, Germany, and his undergraduate education at Technische Hochschule in Munich. During a research assistantship in Davos, Switzerland, Bloch had…
- Interviewee Bloch, Konrad Emil, 1912-
- Interviewer Bohning, James J.
- Subject University of Oxford, Biosynthesis, Biochemists, Human Genome Project, Cholesterol, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Organic, Harvard University, Bloch, Konrad Emil, 1912-, Columbia University, Nobel Prize winners, Cholesterol--Synthesis, Nutrition, Emigration and immigration