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 at the University of Florida in 1940. There, Stork earned his B.S. in 1942, and in 1945, he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. While earning his Ph.D. at Wisconsin, he taught a section of the Army Special Training Program. Synthesis related to quinine and stereochemical control in synthesis highlighted Stork's graduate work and early career.
His first employment after receiving his Ph.D. was with Lakeside Laboratories, working on estrone synthesis. There, Stork also began work on hydrogenation techniques. Stork left Lakeside in 1946 and began an instructorship at Harvard University. While at Harvard, he also consulted for the Syntex Corporation. In 1953, Stork left Harvard and joined the faculty of Columbia University as an associate professor, where he continued his organic synthesis research. Next, Stork worked on polyene cyclization and enamine alkylation while continuing his synthesis work. Stork concludes the interview with a discussion of various developments in organic chemistry, the future of university research funding, and memorable students and co-workers.