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Oral history interview with R. Stanley Williams

  • 2006-Mar-14

R. Stanley Williams begins the interview by discussing his childhood and Sputnik's influence on his decision to study science. Then Williams described his early predisposition towards chemistry and learning from both his father and books from the library. After a positive experience in high school, Williams found himself not as prepared in comparison to his peers at Rice University. Williams worked hard to catch up, and was mentored in microwave spectroscopy by Professor Robert Curl. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Williams worked at Hewlett-Packard for a summer through Robert Curl's connections. At HP Williams worked on photoelectron spectrometers and made some notable contributions. Next Williams worked on photoemission while pursing his graduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley. After receiving his PhD , Williams accepted a position at Bell Laboratories as staff scientist—his research there involved using photoemission to study surface chemistry. Disliking the corporate culture at Bell, Williams moved to University of California at Los Angeles after one year. At UCLA Williams started from scratch and very quickly built up a large research lab. Throughout his stay at UCLA, Williams' research topic ranged from photoemission, ion scattering, STM, and finally AFM. After an earthquake in 1994 destroyed most of his instruments, Williams returned to HP and started a research initiative that eventually evolved into the Quantum Science Research Laboratory (QSR). QSR's four research areas include: nanoelectronics; nanophotonics; nanomechanics; and nanoarchitecture. Williams concludes the interview by offering his thoughts on outside collaboration and funding, the importance of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) to HP, and how he views QSR in relations to other research institutions.

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