LEWIS PERDUE; Co-editor:
I graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. degree in 1972.
My serious lifelong involvement with science began as a uber-geek that involved university graduate-level work as a teen. That eventually landed me as a finalist in the Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search. I also won several prizes at the 1966 International Science Fair for a propulsion engine I designed to use the solar flux for fuel.
NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the National Academy of Sciences awarded that work numerous citations. As a result, I was able to attend summer school in the Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University.
The next summer, I worked an internship at Westinghouse where I helped improve spectrographic test equipment and prototyped solar flux instruments for a Mars fly-by. (At least one of these I hand-crafted flew in the Mariner satellites).
During that internship, I also calibrated neutron density devices for military and civilian nuclear reactors. To the best of my knowledge, no reactors have ever melted down or malfunctioned because of this work. Of course, the military program was classified, so only the NSA knows if I blew something up.
Despite my original research in physics, I maintained my education and knowledge of biology from an early age. I was fortunate to have been mentored and tutored during my high school years by Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, professor, medical researcher and the author of the world’s best-selling human physiology textbook
I majored in biology with an emphasis on Ecology, Evolution And Systematics at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where I graduated with distinction in 1972.
While at Cornell, I worked full-time as a newspaper reporter, this time for the Ithaca Journal.
My A+ grades in organic chemistry and discovery of more than two dozen errors in the class textbook (primarily in quantum bonding orbitals) prompted Cornell’s chemistry department to recruit me as a major in their department.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to support myself except as a newspaper reporter. While I was willing to do that, the prospects for financial survival for Ph.D. work were a grim. I could study, or I could eat. Not both. And that deflected my vocational choices toward full-time writing and part-time scientist.
Over the intervening years, I’ve continued to stay current through careful reading of scientific journals and my study of updated textbooks particularly on quantum physics, and molecular genetics.
I’ve been the founder or early-stage staffer in three technology start-ups, worked as a Washington (D.C.) Correspondent, a Congressional and gubernatorial aide and taught on the faculties at Cornell and UCLA.”