About the Author
Barbara and I live in a condo on Walled Lake in Michigan, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. Walled Lake is a pleasant place. Summers we bicycle, or sail an old boat. Sunsets and views, especially over the windswept frozen lake in winter, are spectacular.
I am a retired physicist, materials scientist, engineer, inventor, and project manager. I was privileged to follow a career of learning and challenge, filled with exposure to fascinating concepts and realities.
My parents and I borrowed, and I waited on tables a few hours a week to help out, so that I could attend MIT, as an undergraduate in metallurgy (now materials science). Bachelor’s degree in hand I joined Westinghouse R&D in Pittsburgh and obtained a combination work-and-study fellowship to Carnegie Tech, soon to be become Carnegie Mellon University. The fellowship both supported me through to a doctorate in solid-state physics and left me with a secure and interesting job at a time when few were available for physics graduates. It was at CMU that I finally came to understand the marvelous beautiful symmetries of the atom that I share with you now in Quantum Fuzz.
After fourteen years with Westinghouse I joined the Intermagnetics General Corporation, a small company of about thirty people in upstate, Albany, New York. Most of my work at Westinghouse and IGC was on the development of new or improved superconductors and superconducting apparatus for the generation and delivery of electrical power on a scale to light cities.
Superconductivity, the ability to carry electrical current without any trace of electrical resistance [like unto perpetual motion], is a quantum phenomenon that takes place below certain very low critical temperatures characteristic of particular materials.
By the time of my retirement from Technical Director of IGC’s SuperPower division, the company had grown to seven hundred employees and was producing one-quarter of the world’s supply of superconducting magnet systems (the large fat tubes that you slide inside of) for MRI medical diagnostic imaging. (IGC was subsequently purchased by Philips, our main customer, for 1.3 billion dollars. The same plant, with some of the same people, is still in operation today.)
Over my career I have authored or coauthored more than seventy technical papers and been awarded some dozen patents. (For one of these, for conceiving and developing a unique way of separating minerals using magnetic fluids, a colleague and I were in 1989 voted Inventors of the Year by the Eastern New York Patent Law Association.) Now, finally, in retirement, I’ve found the time to write for the general, nontechnical reader: to describe in Quantum Fuzz the strange beautiful symmetries of the quantum atom as the explanation for chemistry and the building block of all that we see around us; to tell the fascinating story of the quantum atom’s gradual discovery, over decades and in the context of world events at the time; and to describe the inventions, developments (some from my own experience) and products that have derived from understanding this quantum atom, this fascinating quantum world, products that now drive the expansion of our economies worldwide.