Ari Patrinos on Switching Fields in Science
  Ari Patrinos     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Mar 2006

Oh, I always wanted to learn something else. It would be useful—I mean it was useful if it was, you know, a field where I could apply some skills. For example, I’ve always had computational skills. Especially if those challenges involved solving partial differential equations, which was one of my original, you know, loves I had in graduate school. You know the challenge of taking a set of very difficult, very complicated partial differential equations and applying the modern skills, the modern tools of computational science. So, you know, if there was a challenge like this one it was perhaps more attractive in many ways. But I was also very interested in meandering into fields where I knew very little about, so I would sort of, like a bull in a china shop, try to understand things like in molecular biology where my knowledge was absolutely zilch when I was first exposed to it and that was in the early ‘90s.

Ari Patrinos, currently is a president of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. He is best known for his leading roles in the development of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. Human Genome Project. He earned his undergraduate degree from the National Technical University of Athens and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and astronautical sciences from Northwestern University.

Patrinos has worked in Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratory system since 1973. His research area includes biomedical engineering, atmospheric turbulence, environmental chemistry, climate change, and statistical methods. In 1995 he became the Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science and was responsible for human and microbial genome programs, structural biology, nuclear medicine and health effects, global environmental change. He helped create the DOE's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in 1997 and developed the DOE's Genomes to Life Program.

He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Geophysical Union, and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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