Oral history interview with Charles W. Tobias

Oral history interview with Charles W. Tobias

  • 1995-May-15

Charles Tobias begins this interview with a description of his extended family in Hungary and their interest in engineering. He remembers his early childhood and education in Hungary and the influence of his family and high school chemistry teacher in his selection of chemical engineering as a career. Next, Tobias discusses his education at the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest. Throughout this section he points out the strengths and weaknesses of his education and compares the U.S. and Hungarian systems. Tobias continues by recalling his initial desire to join his brother in graduate research in the U.S. and the intermediary time spent in wartime Hungary as a chemical engineer and, later, as a researcher. Next, he describes the legal and logistical problems he faced in leaving post war Hungary to join his brother at Berkeley. In remembering his initial visits to Berkeley, he fondly remembers the help of John Lawrence, W.M. Latimer and others. He discusses his early research interests and contact with students as a teacher and research advisor. He finishes the first day of interviewing with an overview of the changes within his department during the 1960s.

On the second day of interviewing, Tobias starts by describing his initial attraction to The ECS through student readings of the society's journal. He recalls his interest in reviving the local Berkeley section and meeting colleagues who would play a role throughout his career. As he describes his leadership in reorganizing the tone and structure of The ECS and the Theoretical Division, he emphasizes the roles played by others who joined with him. Moving on to his presidential activities, he touches on several changes within the society and the emphasis he placed on both professional conduct and attracting and supporting young society members. He also discusses the development of electrochemical engineering as a field, and the roles played by him, his students, and the society within that development. He finishes the interview with a brief comment on the role of intuition in science.

Interviewee
Interviewer
Place of interview
Format
Original file type MP3, PDF
Genre
Extent
  • 62 pages
Language
Subject
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location

Department
Collection

Cite as

Charles W. Tobias, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Orinda, California on May 15, 1995. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0146. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/pk02cb92t.

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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