William Rossow

How did you decide to become a scientist?

I don’t think one learns what “being a scientist” really means until at least in high school where you hear about famous examples. By that time you have only encountered general fields of study, so I decided to major in physics and mathematics in college at Hanover College. In college you come to understand that the only career seems to be that of college professor, so you go to graduate school as the pathway to that end. Once there you not only find out about all the sub-disciplines in a subject like physics, but also that there are many more career choices.

In fact, my summer jobs during college and before graduate school had been two stints at the US Health Department compiling data for the annual water pollution and air pollution reports, running experiments on an ocean research ship in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and developing a set of physics laboratory experiments to illustrate the principles of calculus. For it all to work you need to be flexible enough to follow whatever opportunities come up that also look interesting. The broader your range of interests the better.

Read the full interview with William Rossow in The Blue Mountain Review, May 2023.

William Rossow is Lynne Kemen’s husband.