The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Walter Loveland Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen and Linda Richards.

July 22, 2015


“Of Glenn Seaborg and Super Heavy Elements: A Nuclear Chemist Looks Back”  July 22, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Loveland discusses his colorful family background and upbringing in blue-collar suburban Chicago. He also describes his earliest interests in science, his path through undergraduate and graduate studies, and those who influenced him as he made his way through his higher education, including his contacts with luminaries like Charles Coryell and John Huizenga.

From there, Loveland begins to reflect on his long association with both Oregon State University and the University of California, Berkeley. In so doing, he shares his memories of his initial impressions of OSU and Corvallis, his first contacts with Glenn Seaborg, a few initial research experiences in research, and his impressions of Seaborg as a personality. He likewise recounts his interactions with Linus Pauling as well as major figures in nuclear science at OSU, Chih Wang, John Ringle and Dale Trout among them.

Loveland next recounts his memories of the Radiation Biology program at OSU; discusses the life and career of a former student, Sister Mary Joseph Bouchard; and comments on the climate for women and people of color in the sciences at OSU and in the community at large.

Loveland's research is the next focus of the interview. In this he provides an overview of his work with super-heavy ions while also describing his research collaborations and the frequent trips to Berkeley that these collaborations demanded. He also recounts his interactions with OSU's Campus Radiation Safety Committee, his disinterest in working at the Hanford Nuclear Site, his experience of co-authoring two books with Glenn Seaborg, and hindrances to scientific advancement that he has noted as a result of denials of security clearance.

As the session nears its end, Loveland provides his thoughts on NuScale Power as well as the changes that he has seen in Chemistry and Nuclear Science at OSU. The interview concludes with Loveland's perspective on the direction that OSU is headed as it nears its 150th birthday.