R. Byron Bird opens the interview with a brief discussion of his childhood. Born in Texas, Bird's family moved frequently, following Bird's father, a professor of civil engineering. During high school in Washington, DC, Bird developed his interest in foreign languages, and wanted to pursue either language or music in college. However, his father pushed him towards a degree in chemical engineering. Bird completed two years of study at the University of Maryland before entering the Army to fight in World War II. When he left the Army, he resumed his studies after a brief hiatus in a biochemistry lab of the US Department of Agriculture. Bird completed his degree at the University of Illinois, at Urbana. It was there that he decided he wanted to enter a PhD program in chemistry, and he chose to study at the University of Wisconsin. While in graduate school, Bird conducted rigorous research under Joseph Hirschfelder, and went on to a post-doctoral, Fulbright grant for research in the Netherlands. Bird returned to the United States to take a teaching position in the chemistry department at Cornell University, and after a year there, accepted a position in the chemical engineering department at the University of Wisconsin. Before returning to Wisconsin, Bird spent a summer working for DuPont, where he was introduced to the subject of rheology. Bird was extremely active at Wisconsin; he introduced a curriculum in transport phenomena, and as there existed no satisfactory textbook for this subject, he wrote one with colleagues Warren Stewart and Ed Lightfoot. After publishing a few influential books in his field, Bird returned to his original interest in foreign languages and collaborated with William Shetter on two books of Dutch literature. As a result of another Fulbright, Bird spent a year in Japan as a visiting professor. Frustrated by his inability to understand technical Japanese, he produced a book outlining a program for learning technical Japanese. Bird retired in 1992, but has continued to teach at least one semester each year. He closes his interview by discussing his awards, and talking about his hobbies: music and outdoor activities.