1. What made you want to be a chemist?
My career in mass spectrometry derived from its practical applications as it is such a diverse technology. This interest primarily comes from my enjoyment of mathematics, innovative physics technology and that mass spectrometry draws these things together allowing it to be applied to many areas of science.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
A coastal surveyor in Alaska from May to August and a carpenter during the off months in Mulege, Baja.
3. How can chemists best contribute to the world at large?
Develop a room temperature, high current capacity, superconductor energy storage device.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi (adventurer), with what, by our standards would be the crudest traveling means, he explored the world and his own physical existence. Or perhaps Samuel Johnson (English writer) for pure entertainment value.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
1999, a set of metabolomics experiments designed, with a visiting high school student, on the effect of Krispy Kreme donuts on skin composition… the changes were very substantial and interesting. Among the many observations, we saw that in some individuals there was a dramatic increase in skin cholesterol almost immediately.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one CD would you take with you?
The Lesson (book) and the Squirrel Nut Zippers (CD).
Gary Siuzdak is at the Scripps Center for Mass Spectrometry, The Scripps Research Institute, California, and works on developing and applying new mass spectrometry technologies for metabolomics.