Reactions: Julius Rebek


Julius Rebek is in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute, and works on molecular behavior in small spaces.

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

It was either that or painting houses in Kansas in the summer of 1964.

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

An architect; you get to make up stuff that others build and – wait, I’m already doing that!

3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?

A molecular device that intercepts and destroys chemical warfare agents. I hope it would be a deterrent to terrorists.

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

The Ayatollah Khomeini – a nice old man and a snappy dresser…

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

At least 30 years ago; I used a CO2 extinguisher to put out a lab fire of a coworker.

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

“Infinite Jest” and “Akhnaten”

7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?

What is “Reactions”?