A Conversation With Dr. Ray Baughman
Nanotechnology Pioneer’s Research is Helping Shape the Future
April 16, 2009
We sat down for A Conversation With ... Dr. Ray Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry in the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, and director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas.
“ A Conversation With…”
Brandon V. Webb
Dr. Baughman was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, one of only two Texans added by the Academy that year.
He is an expert in the field of nanotechnology, having pioneered fuel-powered artificial muscles based on carbon nanotubes. He also invented a time/temperature indicator used to indicate freshness and safety for vaccines and military Meals Ready to Eat. That technology alone, when used on vaccines, is predicted to save more than 140,000 lives.
During our visit, Dr. Baughman shared his thoughts on:
• How a scientist who isn’t an engineer joins the National Academy of Engineering.
• The thrill of making shared discoveries.
• His admiration for his friend, Nobel Prize winner Alan G. MacDiarmid, who became the namesake for the NanoTech Institute. Dr. Baughman details Dr. MacDiarmid’s bravery as he volunteered his life to stop a gas leak that threatened to blow the lab apart.
• His pride in becoming a Texan, after being recruited by Dr. MacDiarmid.
• Why he encourages high school students to do real science in the George A. Jeffrey NanoExplorers program.
• The accomplishment he is most proud of—it just might surprise you.
Dr. Ray Baughman is the director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, named for the Nobel Prize winner who recruited Dr. Baughman to UT Dallas.
“He was a great friend for over 31 years. He was a hero, not only in science, but in a number of other ways. … He was a scientist and a humanist who worked to the very last moment of life. He was suffering from cancer and other serious ailments, and had many arrows in his body, but the day he died he was getting up early in the morning to go off to…his native country of New Zealand. … He was a great hero.”