Simon H. Friedman is in the division of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Pharmacy and works at the interface of chemistry and biology, building chemical tools for understanding and altering biology.
1. What made you want to be a chemist?
A childhood building things from legos. A love of machines and contraptions. A love of shapes and symmetry. The hope of making something useful and having fun while doing it.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
Filmmaking, music, or design. I enjoy creative self expression. The Muse at times seems like a less harsh mistress than does Nature.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
Multiple things including: 1) Developing and applying light activated RNA interference to control gene expression spatio-temporally and in so doing understand fundamental biological processes, and 2) Super-secret project Omega. Hopefully you will hear about it sometime soon.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
The progenote, so I could ask it what makes it tick.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
I tend to be a designated hitter in the lab, meaning I work with individual students on their experiments, in particular making and using new apparatus for specific projects. The last apparatus I made was a high intensity UV point source.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
Book: FM3-05.70 US Army Survival Manual (non-electronic version). Album: Probably the White album. I hope that they don’t notice that it is a two disk set.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
Steven A. Benner. He just seems like a very philosophical and contemplative guy. It would be interesting to get that eight miles high perspective.