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Louis A. Girifalco

  • Born: July 3, 1928, New York City, New York

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0635
Interview Date: June 10, 2008
Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Interviewer:
No. of pages: 35
Minutes: 69
Sponsor: Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology

  Abstract of Interview

Louis Girifalco begins the interview by describing his parents’ support of his decision to study chemistry; he also discusses his undergraduate and graduate education. Studying applied science at the University of Cincinnati, Girifalco did his Ph.D. research on the adhesion of ice to surfaces. The surface science thesis research naturally evolved into solid state physics when Girifalco began work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which eventually became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. During his career Girifalco met Robert Maddin, which ultimately led an offer of a faculty position for Girifalco at the University of Pennsylvania.

At Penn, Girifalco worked in the metallurgical engineering department and reflected upon the creation of the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LSRM), as well as the funding process within LRSM. Fundamentally an interdisciplinary research institute, Girifalco spent time as director of LRSM and discussed his views on the evolution of the academic science research system and on the Nano/Bio Interface Center and other current interdisciplinary research institutes.

  Education

1950 B.S., Chemistry, Rutgers University
1952 M.S., Applied Science, University of Cincinnati
1954 Ph.D., Applied Science, University of Cincinnati

  Professional Experience

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

1954 - 1955

Research Chemist

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

1955 - 1959

Solid State Physicist, Solid State Physics Section, Lewis Research Center

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

1959 - 1961

Head, Solid State Physics Section, Lewis Research Center

University of Pennsylvania

1961 - 1965

Associate Professor of Metallurgical Engineering

University of Pennsylvania

1965 - 1982

Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science

University of Pennsylvania

1967 - 1969

Director, Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter

University of Pennsylvania

1972 - 1974

Chair, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science

University of Pennsylvania

1974 - 1979

Associate Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science

University of Pennsylvania

1979 - 1981

Vice Provost for Research

University of Pennsylvania

1981 - 1982

Acting Provost

University of Pennsylvania

1982 - present

University Professor of Materials Science

  Honors

1996

D.Sc (Honoris Causa) Hahnemann University

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Education 1

New York City. Rutgers University. University of Cincinnati. Graduate research. Solid state physics at NASA. Introduction to Robert Maddin. Position offer by Maddin at the University of Pennsylvania.

Career at University of Pennsylvania 8

State of metallurgical engineering department. Creation of LRSM. Funding process within LRSM. Inter-departmental collaboration. John Hobstetter. Experience as director of LRSM.

Concluding Thoughts 21

Reflection on the evolution of the academic science research system. Thoughts on NBIC and other current interdisciplinary research institutes.

Index 27

Collaboration on Dutch literature readers. Position as visiting Fulbright professor in Japan. Collaboration on manuals for learning technical Japanese.

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