USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Check out this interview with Brian Pollock, Chief Scientific Officer of Life Technologies one of our sponsor organizations on the USA Science and Engineering Festival. This interview was posted on Earth Sky another one of our partner organizations.
i-b67f6a542ffcec8b0d7a685c2641124c-brian_pollok_102.jpgBrian Pollok, Ph.D., is Life Technologies’ chief scientific officer and Head of Global Research and Development. He oversees the allocation of more than $350 million in R&D funds annually, which has yielded innovative new products in the areas of DNA sequencing, cell analysis, and molecular biology. Dr. Pollok has been with Life Technologies since 2003, previously serving as chief scientific officer and head of Global R&D, and Vice President of R&D for Invitrogen’s Discovery Sciences unit in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Pollok received his B.A. in biology and chemistry from the University of Virginia, and his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal ASSAY, and is an advisor for several non-profit disease organizations and the NIH. Dr. Pollok is also a past recipient of an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award and an Arthritis Foundation Investigator Award.

90 Second interview

8 minute interview

Brian Pollok: There’s not a ‘genetics’ for science. There are people that come from all backgrounds who become career scientists, who have an interest.

You’re listening to Dr. Brian Pollok, chief scientific officer of Life Technologies Corporation in Carlsbad, California. He spoke with EarthSky about the USA Science and Engineering Festival, expected to draw over a million people to the national mall in Washington D.C on October 23 and 24, 2010.

Brian Pollok: A vast array of organizations are involved. I was very impressed by the diversity of representation, not just in the areas of science that were represented, but the industries and the universities that are participants. There’s very much an interdisciplinary nature to the exhibits, and that’s important, because science and engineering today is an interdisciplinary enterprise. It involves combinations of biology with informatics, or engineering with chemistry and computer science.

Dr. Pollok thinks people should celebrate science.

Brian Pollok: If you think about the major technological advances that have happened in the 20th century, such things as vaccination, antibiotics, solid state electronics, the Internet, all were accomplished by people with a strong science, technology, engineering training. It’s essential as a society to have a strong group of people who have that type of depth of training in science and engineering and technology. And they’re the ones who bring forward the types of inventions and innovations that we all utilize in our everyday life. Without having people who have the knowledge to bring an idea into reality, we won’t have these inventions. We won’t have these types of products that make our lives easier and more interesting.

Dr. Pollok said that science isn’t as intimidating as it might look.

Brian Pollok: You can start to understand basic concepts in science at a very young age. I’ve had conversations with other scientists where I asked, ‘when did you start to learn about science and become interested?’ It tended to be first grade, second grade, even middle school. But by then, the die had been cast. And through exposure and just understanding rudimentary principals in getting certain types of phenomena and letting your curiosity bloom, it’s actually fairly easy to start to enter into asking questions that are very germane to problems of everyday life. How do you clean up an oil spill? What is the oil and the water together? And understanding that principle, of how one would skim it off, or bacteria that would eat it, or how would you remove it from the environment in these types of situations. There are everyday pressing problems that young people can turn their minds onto.

~~written by Jorge Salazar

Comments

  1. #1 Avi Dey
    August 4, 2011

    Thanks for your comments Dr. Pollok. The key challange is “motivation”. The fact 01 is that kids are not motivated to go into science in most states in USA. I live in Northern Virginia, a community that takes pride in “education”. Yet the facts are that under current public educational system we have, supposedly among the best in USA, most kids are are turned off to science by the time they leave high school. This is reality. How do we overcome this to what you are suggesting, motivate kids to science and engineering at early age ?

    Avi Dey,
    Fairfax, Virginia.

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