Raised primarily by his widowed mother, Nichols won scholarships to help him through his undergraduate studies of chemistry at Cornell, where he completed a senior research project with Wilder D. Bancroft. At Bancroft's urging, Burton Nichols met Svedberg, who was then on his way to Wisconsin on sabbatical leave, and followed him to Madison. His introduction to sedimentation techniques was by construction of a pioneer optical centrifuge and its use in pigment characterization. Recollections of this period are followed by an account of his arrival at the Du Pont Experimental Station to work in Kraemer's group, starting with the application of ultracentrifugal techniques to industrial problems. During his long career at Du Pont, Nichols was involved in the evolution of new instruments and polymer characterization. The interview concludes with Nichols recalling colleagues, Du Pont management and organization, as well as his professional society activities.