Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

Reactions – Ronald Breslow

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

Chemistry is both creative and incisive, so it gives us both medicines and biological mechanisms.

2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?

Perhaps a biologist, or if not a scientist then a judge.

3. How can chemists best contribute to the world at large?

Help solve the energy problem, probably with practical photovoltaic devices and batteries.

4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?

Thomas Jefferson, to convince him that Hamilton was right.

5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?

Perhaps 40 years ago, generating a cyclopentadienyl cation and getting its spectrum.

6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one CD would you take with you?

The recent biography of George Washington, and Bach’s Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould.

Ron Breslow is in the Department of Chemistry at Columbia University, and works on biomimetic chemistry, physical organic chemistry and molecular electronics.