Oral history interview with James N. Shoolery

Oral history interview with James N. Shoolery

  • 2002-Jan-18

James N. Shoolery begins the interview by discussing his family background and growing up during the Depression. His interest in chemistry began in his childhood and grew further during his undergraduate years at the .S., chemistry, University of California at Berkeleyof California, Berkeley. His education was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the U.S. Navy as a radar technician in the South China Sea. Upon his return to the United States, Shoolery toyed with the idea of pursuing electrical engineering because of his experiences in the Navy, but he ultimately decided against it. Shoolery decided to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and worked under Don M. Yost on microwave spectroscopy. After visiting an electronics show in Los Angeles, California, and seeing their exhibit, Shoolery wrote to Varian Associates, Inc. about the possibility of his coming to work there on applications for nuclear magnetic resonance. He joined Varian Associates, Inc. in 1952 and spent nearly forty years working there. Shoolery shares his impressions of Varian Associates, Inc., its management, its products, and his pride in having been able to follow the development of NMR for such an extended period of time. Shoolery concludes the interview with a discussion of his life outside of Varian and shares some final thoughts about his career.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 67 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
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Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

James N. Shoolery, interviewed by David C. Brock in Palo Alto, California on January 18, 2002. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0230. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/9g54xj75c.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

10 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads