Paul S. Anderson begins the interview with a discussion of his family and his childhood in Vermont. Though he was born in Concord, Vermont, in 1938, his father became the superintendent of Swainton, Vermont, schools soon after his son’s birth, and so Anderson’s family moved there. Paul Anderson attended Highgate High School, and went on to attend the University of Vermont for his undergraduate studies in chemistry. After receiving his BS in chemistry in 1959, Anderson attended the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his PhD in chemistry in 1963. Following a brief post-doctoral fellowship with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University, Anderson accepted a senior research position at the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories. Over the next thirty years, Anderson advanced through the ranks of Merck leadership, eventually becoming the vice president for chemistry at their West Point facilities. In 1994, DuPont and Merck formed a joint-venture company, for which Anderson served as the vice president for the chemical and physical sciences. Then, in 1998, DuPont bought out Merck’s half of the joint venture and made Anderson the senior vice president of his department for the newly formed DuPont Pharmaceuticals. When Bristol-Meyers Squibb bought DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 2001, Anderson continued with the company as the vice president of drug discovery. Anderson concludes his interview with his feelings about winning the Perkin Medal and the significance of federal funding for scientific research.
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