The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Hossein Rojhantalab Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

June 2, 2014


Hossein Mohammad Rojhantalab was born in 1944 in Tehran, Iran, one of eleven children. After graduating from high school in Iran, Rojhantalab came to the United States to further his education. Following stints at the University of San Francisco and Cabrillo College - during which time he became enmeshed in the region's counter-cultural movements - Rojhantalab enrolled at the California State College at Hayward, where he completed his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1970 and his master's degree in physical chemistry in 1972.

That same year, Rojhantalab moved to Corvallis in pursuit of a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. He completed this work in 1976, submitting a thesis titled "Spectroscopic studies of molecular dynamics and structure at low temperature," a project that was overseen by Dr. Joseph Nibler, an important mentor and friend.

His graduate studies finished, Rojhantalab returned to Iran, first accepting a position as assistant professor of chemistry at Jundishapur University in Ahwaz before moving to the chemistry faculty at Shiraz University in Tehran. Rojhantalab remained in this post until 1982, at which point he and three colleagues formed a popular science publishing company that aimed to provide translated educational texts for use in Iranian high schools.

In 1985, unsettled by the changes brought about by the Iranian Islamic Revolution, Rojhantalab returned to the United States, first as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, where he conducted surface science research. In 1988 Rojhantalab was hired by Intel, Inc., initially as an employee of its lithography operation and later as a member of its thin films unit. He retired from Intel in 2011.