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Oral History Interview with Tim Schenz by Matthew Crawford
February 23, 2023
Liquid Crystal Oral History Project
Transcript produced by Sharp Copy Transcription
DR. MATTHEW CRAWFORD: My name is Matthew Crawford. I'm a Historian of Science and Associate Professor of History at Kent State University. Today is February 23rd, 2023, and I am interviewing Dr. Tim Schenz, over the phone, in my office in the Department of History at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Dr. Schenz, thanks for agreeing to speak with me today.
Liquid Crystal Oral History: Schenz, Timothy
Crawford, Matthew James
An oral history interview with Tim Schenz, a retired Research Fellow with Abbott Laboratories, who earned his PhD in Chemistry from Kent State University. This interview is part of the Liquid Crystal Oral History Project. Schenz shares the development of his educational and professional careers. He was born in Washington D.C., but grew up in Akron, Ohio. Schenz was interested in science as a kid and eventually attended Westminster College to major in chemistry. Schenz met his future wife Anne, who also participated in an oral history interview, in a sophomore chemistry class, and by the time he had graduated college in 1968, they decided to attend graduate school. The two entered into Kent State’s PhD program for physical chemistry. Throughout his work at Kent State, Schenz received assistance with his laboratory work from members of the Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI). Schenz graduated from Kent State in 1973 and later that fall, he began a job at General Foods Corporation. He began as a senior chemist but held different positions throughout his time with the company (1973-1987). One of his most significant achievements at General Foods was finding a way to evaluate the acoustic properties of Pop Rocks. After General Foods, Schenz worked at Abbott Laboratories (1987-2002) and started a physical chemistry group there. He received the Outstanding Research Award from Abbott Laboratories in 1996. He took an early retirement from Abbott and worked for an organization called Frontiers, a Christian missionary organization, from 2002 to 2022. Schenz used the skills he learned as a scientist to help Frontiers develop websites for individual mission teams to share their work and exchange documents.
NOTE: Although Dr. Tim Schenz did not work directly in the field of liquid crystals, he had several interactions with the Liquid Crystal Institute as a graduate student at Kent State University. In addition to describing his own career as a chemist, his oral history provides context for the educational and professional experiences of his spouse, Dr. Anne Schenz, the second woman from Kent State University to earn a PhD with a focus on liquid crystals.
Institutes and Centers
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audio digital file
Special Collections and Archives
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Kent State University
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