Title and Description Page
Early Years 1
Born in Pendleton, Indiana. Family background and occupations. Liked to read. Liked math; won state contest. Farm work.
College Years 7
Matriculated at Purdue University in Engineering Sciences. Married. Mid-career joined U.S. Army. Secret Agency School, then Electronic Proving Ground in Fort Huachuca. Returned to Purdue on GI Bill. Henry Rosenstock and Merrill Wallenstein. Austin Wahrhaftig. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Engineering Sciences. Johnston Laboratories.
Johnston Laboratories 24
Quasi-equilibrium theory. Rosenstock and Wallenstein. Coincidence time-of-flight. Rosenstock and Wallenstein leave for Board of Standards. Wahrhaftig consults for Johnston; QET corrects major problem in TOF. Jean Futrell funding. Moves to Baltimore, Maryland, with Johnston Labs; starts PhD in physics at Johns Hopkins University, but doesn’t finish. William Johnston of Johnston Labs, Gordon Fergusson, Bob Jones, and Vestal start Scientific Research Instruments Corporation (SRIC). Chemical ionization just patented by Frank Field and Burnaby Munson; licensed to SRIC.
University of Utah 32
Decides academic world appeals, but needs PhD. Enrolls at University of Utah, where Jean Futrell, Austin Wahrhaftig, and Henry Eyring are. PhD in chemical physics. Publishes many papers. Eyring’s absolute rate theory. Builds triple quadrupole. Aeronautical Research Laboratory (ARL). Photodissociation. Calvin Blakely. Crossbeam mass spectrometer for dissertation. Hee-Yong Kim.
Job Search 41
Accepts position at University of Houston. References from Joe Franklin and Frank Field. Ownership of crossbeam; James McCloskey arranges compromise. Futrell’s tandem MS, probably first, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Eleven years at Houston. Patents thermospray; not much interest from others, so starts Vestec, Inc., with wife, Christina, and Gordon Fergusson. Builds first machine on kitchen table. Business too good; loses National Science Foundation funding. Leaves University of Houston to work full-time at company. John Fenn. Sold many instruments to Shimadzu, Hewlett Packard, Finnigan.
Impending Demise of Thermospray 57
Hears Fenn’s talk on electrospray. Beginning of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization/time-of-flight (MALDI/TOF). Vestec builds “a bunch” and sells to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Baylor University, University of Texas Medical Center. Randy Nelson, his “do all guy.” Electron multiplier Vestal had invented at Johnston Labs. Competitors in MALDI. Merger with PerSeptive. Noubar Afeyan. Merger with Applied Biosystems. Move to Framingham, Massachusetts. Internal problems; MALDI sold to ABSciex. Siena, Italy. Founds new company.
Virgin Instruments 70
Theory for optimizing any MALDI. Sizes from desktop to two-story vertical. Accelerator MS for bone studies to permit hospital use for patient’s lifetime; cost so far “down to a million.” How Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) scores proposals. Ideas for better MALDI and TOF/TOF. William C. Wiley and I.H. McLaren. Linear vs. reflector MS. Franz Hillencamp and delayed extraction. R.S. Brown and John J. Lennon. Vestal first to commercialize MALDI/TOF/delayed extraction.
Thoughts on Innovation and Science 84
Innovation comes from smaller companies, less from universities. Grants more difficult to get. Review committees’ makeup, biases. National Institutes of Health’s propensity to fund known quantities. Science more complex and expensive. Biology very important. Much research to be done with DNA. Too few American graduate students. Meeting interesting people from all over the world. Management style, his and others’. Wasteful meetings. Professional managers and the persistence thereof. Publishing. Reviews of his own work generally fair. Friendly competition in MS. Publication credit. Wife’s career from University of Utah through University of Houston to new company. Patents are defensive, protective. Thirteen patents in new company. Licensing, lawsuits.
SELDI, SEND, TOF, MALDI 100
Surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization (SELDI), surface-enhanced neat desorption (SEND). Most important publication about theory of TOF and MALDI; 150 equations in paper. Getting award for that paper. Patents on TOF-TOF; its importance to development of instruments. Believes more important ideas in future. Recaps influence of Rosenstock, Wahrhaftig, and Futrell on his own thinking. Steve Hayden, his “right-hand guy.”
Retrospection and Introspection 105
Thinking about his career in science. His new company to do things he wants to do. Less talk, more do. Advice to young would-be scientists: do it for love, not money. Women in science. Only two women in his field when he began. Tries to engage, not mentor. Competition good in science. Enormous growth in MS due to biological applications. Electrospray and MALDI. MALDI better for addressing difficult problems. Electrospray approaching its limits.