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I don't know how Fergason envisioned the Institute, but I do know that it wasn't like Glenn envisioned it. An oral history interview with J. William Doane, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Emeritus Director of the Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI) at Kent State University, and Co-Founder and Senior Advisor at Kent Displays, Inc., in Kent, Ohio. ]CRAWFORD: The departments have their own hiring plans and needs.DOANE: Departments have their own agenda and plans. It was incredible. Joel Domino, was the company's first employee. He got an appointment at Texas A&M. Before that, it was sort of informal. Here, we had a new technology, we had patents on it. In order to get color, you have to filter the light through red, green, and blue filters, and those filters absorb a lot of light. However, when I came in '65, they had already advanced that to a solid-state physics program and were in the process of moving it to a standard physics program for all areas of physics. The Japanese had really gotten it off the ground. I got each one to sit down and write up what they could do with their experimental technique to study these liquid crystals. Kent State made money on licensing, [but they didnt make a lot in view of work and the trouble it can cause, particularly if the patent is challenged and there is a court battle. I was standing there, and the professor happened to be in there, and he saw me. The physics department was very small, and the only way you could get a doctoral program was to do something with chemistry, so they created this graduate program in Chemical Physics. Early 80s. Little Tokyo. I think liquid crystals have played a big role in science, particularly in flat-panel displays. I think it was my second year Id been here, probably around '67 or so. But I'd say from Kent State University's point of view, it was the visibility in the science field. My experience with this is that universities typically don't want to get too involved in licensing and business relationships. 2 hours from Kansas City. I had virtually nothing to work with, so I had to get [a vacuum] tube, and then I didnt know how to mount this tube. Just from your experience having worked at Kent Displays, Northeast Ohio of course is different in some ways than Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Northern California in lots of ways. I don't really know the reason. Not very long after I started this company, they removed them. From Akron University [we have hired students with expertise in polymers. But I probably did consider the job opportunities because my wife and I tried to have children, and we were told by a doctor that our chances of conceiving were not very high. This of course did not happen. Another kind he was working on was called a guest host display, where you dissolve a dye material in a liquid crystal, the liquid crystal orders this dye material, and by changing the orientation of the liquid crystals with an electric field, you can change how colorful it is. Shortly after that, we had a project with a company outside the beltway in Washington DC that had a defense contract to develop some very secret thing. USC applied, I applied, and so did these other universities.] When I got to high school, my father sold all that property in Nebraska and moved to Southern Missouri. ]CRAWFORD: And that's important because that's a ubiquitous technology. We began to get work using liquid crystals, not just PDLCs, but other kinds, for optical studies. This group was studying that sort of thing in various solids. His name is on a couple patents. Objectif : Valoriser 10 000 tonnes de matires organiques agricoles par an et 100 m3/h de biomthane, soit l'quivalent de la consommation en gaz de 1000 foyers. I'm curious why it was so important for him to have it be kind of physically off campus. Crises aren't always that bad in the sense that they can move things along and force people to look at other ways. In the summer of '67, my wife and I took our summer vacation, and we went back home to visit our parents. Ive been told that China likes them in train stations and various public places.CRAWFORD: Same thing with the Boogie Board, right? I knew nothing about marketing or sales, and I didn't view myself as somebody to run the company. Or was it just purely, "This is where we have space"?DOANE: Chemistry and physics being two independent units didn't bother me at all. We found that we could switch these things from a white to a beautiful clear with an electric field and make unique optical devices. This turned out to be a big problem, actually.CRAWFORD: Id be happy to hear. However, after two years, Nelson Duller's wife didn't like it in Missouri and wanted to go back to Texas, where she was from. But it did force them to really think about, "Is what I'm doing really relevant?" In order to apply for one of these things, you were encouraged to show how you could create technology and get it into the US economy. So, that sort of thing? Generally universities want to publish their research results. It's been very helpful. One problem with that was that the people who were interested were primarily foreign companies. Wil Franklin was working on viscosity and related things. We got the company started, and the company got off to a very quick start. He said he got a call from a guy in the Air Force he knew, and they wanted to explore liquid crystals. New York Nails. There's some discussion of applications, especially in the early years, the late 60s, focused on understanding perhaps the role of liquid crystals in living systems. At that time, a group at Xerox had started looking at it. Things like the Bayh-Dole Act got the state to start thinking differently. But our initial work with General Motors really set the stage for becoming a display-oriented group because we then had a clean room and other facilities needed for this. The display world was just sort of developing industrially apart from the academic world somehow.CRAWFORD: Could it be because the academic world was more focused on basic research?DOANE: I think so. Actually you could use and switch any color. I wanted to tie these things together. Probably within a year, we were selling signs. We wouldn't have cell phones with displays, flat TV screens, interactive wrist watches etc. But continuing that attitude didn't work when the materials began to be developed and their use became recognized. We can pick up tomorrow. But, eventually, we were able to come up with a plan that convinced them to grant a license and we formed KDI. We put together a massive proposal from our group to NSF. What are the advantages and challenges of running a technology company in this place, in Northeast Ohio? There's a lot of industry here. Somehow, I just thought it was important for our program to do that. I'm an Associate Professor and Historian of Science in the Department of History at Kent State University. They focused on one type of liquid crystal display, LCD, referred to as a twist cell. There was stuff going on like that.CRAWFORD: Was this Hughes Laboratory?DOANE: No, it was not Hughes. It has a separate dinning room and living room and an partially finished basement with laundry hookups. But there was nobody else who wanted to take over the Institute, basically. It was not easy to do. At the undergraduate level, I always thought students got the idea a lot better, particularly with physics students, if you could demonstrate how physics is used in hands-on stuff. [Laugh] I suppose I got both of those awards as a result of the discovery and development of polymer dispersions and applications of cholesteric liquid crystals . We needed to be working with another university on polymers. It was really good for both chemistry and physics departments and their graduate programs because it funded graduate students and their dissertation research. There was more of an awareness brought on, and I credit that to a lot of the defense agencies. My father, early on, had bought me a crystal radio set. As soon as I met Sardari, I talked him into synthesizing a liquid crystal I could use with magnetic resonance. But was this discovery of switching cholesteric liquid crystals electronically more by design?DOANE: [No, it also was by accident. Two miles from the noonday creek trail!Directions: Google, Waze. $269,900. Kent State university and its ALCOM center has probably graduated more students in the display industry than any other university in the US. They wanted to show that there was economic benefit to all of this. Whether they saw that as an opportunity to get it from him, I'm not sure. That was what really got the company off the ground and involved in marketing and sales that had to be developed.CRAWFORD: Had the company done any test marketing or user studies?DOANE: No, it really didn't have much in the way of marketing. At one time, I thought maybe I could somehow get him involved in the graduate program or something, but he didn't want to do that. Another thing I discovered at this meeting was that I was the only person there from a university. CRAWFORD: What was the reaction to that?DOANE: They picked up on it, but they didn't always do it as well as I would have liked. DOANE: And he said the response from it was just so good that he decided to pursue the field. Right now, I can watch my computer recording our conversation. ]CRAWFORD: One of the themes I'm getting from your answers is, you seem to have a very open perspective in the sense of looking for opportunities, building connections, literally connecting the physics and chemistry departments on campus. The company today develops all sorts of stuff to get it closer and closer to paper yet make it interactive with digital electronics. One texture reflects a beautiful colored light. [These beautiful displays have been a major contributor to todays social media for example. [It developed into a huge research effort involving the institute and the physics and chemistry departments; however after several years, I began to see the real problem of the institute being located apart from the research campus.] It really got very bad. In '65, when I was interviewing for the positions, there was already some work going on here and there around the country. At that particular point, I married my wife, Shirley, right after I graduated.CRAWFORD: This would've been 1950?DOANE: 1958. And we'll have writing tablets coming out where you don't need any power to erase, either. University patenting was difficult for different reason, but from what I understand, I think around '65, '67, there was an individual in the federal government who was trying to make it easier for federal universities to patent research. You could see it very well in bright daylight, so they wanted to explore it further and put some money into it. The acronym for it was NCIPT, the National Center for Integrated Photonic Technology, funded by DARPA. And just after I got here, he had already invited Jim up for an interview. Tenant will be out by mid May. I saw only a few closed stores on. I thought I was too old to be a good researcher anymore. Learn why in our, 442-H New York Standard Operating Procedures. Why did you decide to retire?DOANE: Several reasons. He just wanted to make a wristwatch face. [Laugh] While liquid crystals could get that feature, it had a very short temperature range. One type of liquid crystal cell the group worked on RCA was called dynamic scattering. When he submitted his patent and formed his company, Hoffmann-La Roche was beginning to see the value in all of this and had the European patent for it. I liked working with my hands, and I liked building things. I dont think it is generally realized the importance of liquid crystal materials has played in todays digital world. CRAWFORD: When you told us about the discovery of polymer-dispersed liquid crystals, it sounded like it sort of happened by accident, because you had this researcher from Italy who had put the epoxy in and left it, and the next day, its whoa, this happened. I think he was able to keep everybody here and keep the place running. ]CRAWFORD: Having worked in this field, what does technology transfer mean? As I recall, there was somebody from Xerox. I think people see me more in that light than in terms of making a big scientific contribution. 1. [Laugh]CRAWFORD: That's true. One thing I didnt like was, during the pandemic, when I walked up on campus, I felt like I was in a ghost town. That was very attractive to them, too. A researcher can think he has something really great until he has to make something out of it. [We are, of course, not anywhere near where Cambridge and Silicon Valley are but we do, at least, have a start.] I didn't come here because of liquid crystals, but right after I got here, I went into it, hook, line, and sinker. I took this display to a meeting of the Society for Information Displays, the first time I'd ever been to one of those display meetings. He retired from Kent State University and the LCI in 1996. I joined the ROTC and then, of course, after I graduated, I needed to serve a couple years. Copyright 2023 eRealEstate Holdings, LLC. ]CRAWFORD: Would you say that Kent Displays itself is a product of ALCOM?DOANE: Oh, yes. I think he may have written it when he was at the University of Cincinnati. The funding for Kent Displays was strictly Bill Manning.CRAWFORD: And then, you mentioned getting some defense contracts. I wanted to stay here. And other people in the Institute, in the physics and chemistry departments, then began to do other things with displays, things like retardation layers, alignment films, and various kinds of things it takes to make a display. CRAWFORD: Where might we see some of these signs today? I had help from Dave Uhrich in Physics, who was great in editing things for us. But the power drain was very low. [Laugh] But there's no manufacturing in the U.S. that I'm aware of. The two seemed isolated from each other. CRAWFORD: Good! That was my interest. The others pretty much went by themselves.CRAWFORD: How did this collaboration come about?DOANE: Here's how I recall it started. When Jim's company began to fail, Hoffmann-La Roche wanted to buy the patent from him. I worked with him and helped with stuff, we went down in limestone mines, looking at cosmic rays. But I was hooked right away. I never really worried about COVID as a disease, I just followed along with what professionals thought we should do. When I came to Kent in 1965, physics had just started its graduate program. These days, science means you've got to work with other people. CRAWFORD: Well, I think we should maybe take a break. We put together this massive proposal. I kept mine, as did a few others, but faculty were finding it more difficult to get research funding, because [, in part,] the basic research was becoming [better] known. But I did follow what Asad did for the company during the pandemic, and I thought he did a fine job. He started a conversation with me. I thought this was an opportunity for the physics department. To my knowledge, it was the first patent that Kent State ever had, at least following the Bayh-Dole Act. [Laugh] [Polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) became known in industry as well, worldwide.] But that was the way Glenn wanted it. He had this telescope that could pick them up when they came in at any particular angle. But it was clear that it wasn't going to be a very big business, and I wasn't sure that Bill Manning would ever get that much enjoyment out of signs. Fundamentally, it's very simple. I thought that having him there would really be great. A display researcher, Wolfgang Helfrich, when he was at RCA worked with a group that explored many of these ways to make liquid crystal displays. There are alignment layers, retardation films, liquid crystal materials where significant contributions are made. LGBTQ Legal Protections updated by Movement Advancement Project. Full basement offers additional storage and workshop space. Turns out, it was extremely important because later on, when we came to the ALCOM [Advanced Liquid Crystalline Optical Materials] Center, that was extremely valuable.CRAWFORD: Why was that?DOANE: At that time NSF started a new program for Science and Technology Centers, and it was a new direction for NSF. Today he is CEO taking the company into new exciting directions with new products. Basically university research on liquid crystal materials and industrial research on liquid crystal displays were disconnected. MLS ID: 10127388. There was Dave Johnson in the physics department, who was doing very nice work on calorimetry, the thermodynamics of liquid crystals. He was just getting into it.CRAWFORD: At this meeting, was he just mentioning this as [inaudible]DOANE: I don't recall all the details of that meeting but I am sure he must have because that's where it hit me that this seemed to be a neat field. For example, Glenn Brown had a great relationship with George Gray, of the University of Hull, who invented the liquid crystal materials of the type Jim Fergason needed to make his company a success. He looked like a real good guy to work with. That moves LCI from this space where it had been in between physics and chemistry to its own space. My wife and I went to [Tacoma]. University of Oklahoma at Stillwater, various places. I'm delighted you're doing it.CRAWFORD: Well, I want to just thank you again for being so generous with your time and sharing your story. ]CRAWFORD: I would imagine as a company, it's beneficial to have students, both undergraduates and graduates, who can come here and work that you know have experience in physics.DOANE: Particularly experience in liquid crystals. [Laugh] DOANE: [Laugh] Well, this was typical Glenn, it turns out. Then, Hughes Research in Malibu California got involved because at that time, Hughes was owned by General Motors. It needed a champion to get industry deeply involved. There are numerous small colleges in Northeastern Ohio. Enter a site search term and use the ENTER KEY to submit your search Welcome Home! The company has been improving on this over the years. Kent State wasn't widely known for anything at that time. [Laugh]CRAWFORD: How does the surface of the Boogie Board record the writing? Town Center at Aurora is a fully enclosed regional shopping destination in Aurora, Colorado, and serves the nearby communities of Aurora, Buckley Air Force Base, The Anschutz Medical Campus, the Lowry neighborhood and residents of southeast Denver. Again, we lived out in the country, and I went to a small town for high school. Instead of just funding Utah, they sent out requests for proposals. DOANE: First of all, investment. I told them I would do it if I could have a few positions with the promise that I would bring in some federal support for the program. [Laugh] When we had our meetings and discussions, I always wanted to see something, not just a bunch of words and slides. It has played a big role [scientifically and technologically]. CRAWFORD: It just seemed like the right thing to do.DOANE: It just seemed like the thing to do! Newly updated with Stainless Steel Appliances, Flooring with Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tile, Stainless Steel Sink, New Lighting, Tile shower in the master. The guy at Hughes who headed all of this was Dave Margerum. One of the researchers, Wolfgang Helfrich, went over to Hoffmann-La Roche, who with Martin Schadt developed the twist cell display. I was very lucky to have such a guy in this little town. CRAWFORD: By secrets, youre talking about intellectual property?DOANE: [Yeah, primarily intellectual property but also research results. These don't have to be refreshed. I was delighted that we could do something with industry. [Laugh] I worked with him as an undergraduate, building his electronics, and I became very familiar with the kind of stuff he was doing. The goal is to just have a conversation, and certainly, you've filled in the picture a lot about the Institute, and the development of liquid crystals, and the changes in the way science is done. Please interview Phil Bos, he'll clue you in on all of that stuff. After Saupe had been at Kent for a while, he convinced that student to leave Hoffman-La Roche and come work with him at Kent. How do they function on a molecular level?" We are doing this interview at Kent Displays in Kent, Ohio. I didn't necessarily look at it as a way just to help my own research, although I could see that it would help to have other people around doing this. I was supportive of the applications. I can only speak from a Kent point of view because that's where I was at the time. With ALCOM, we had at least 100 people back then, including the students, post-docs, faculty, and so on. I thought it was great. Even Fergason's work was not military-oriented. Kent State university and its ALCOM center has probably graduated more students in the display industry than any other university in the US. CRAWFORD: Were they asking for advice on technical problems? It's caused governments and people in general to think about doing a better job in how we deal with these pathogens, viruses, and stuff. It seems like a lot of the Nobel laureates are really young fellows or at least made their discoveries at a young age. Here are all the details of Les Avenires Veyrins-Thuellin available below. Prices and availability are subject to change without notice. If I apply a voltage pulse, it does this and if I change the voltage of the pulse it does that." I started applying at various places, and there was this one school looking for people. Then, when it came time to graduate, I had to start looking at places to go and things to do. I'm sure I had considered this because I really had to look at an area of physics in which I could support our family. We've talked a little bit about how the academic and industrial worlds were in some ways separate universes. Or are you working with scientists at the LCI?DOANE: Yes, today we use those facilities. Oftentimes, people talk about academic research, especially at this time, as being more independent because there weren't private interests, they weren't working for a company's lab. They got through it well. Further, in the ALCOM Center, we had a very successful K-12 program, too. I didnt know anything about tube sockets. CRAWFORD: We left off at our last discussion talking about the end of your career at the Liquid Crystal Institute with your retirement in 1996, at which point you moved to working full-time with Kent Displays, Incorporated. [There's a faculty member at Kent, Phil Bos that I'd like for you to interview.] Because that was something they could really do, what's called a seven-segment display. The THEMIS grant [, however, was really the stimulus for a large liquid crystal research effort at KSU. But the university can have ownership of patents that industry needs. And they decided to go with a twist cell. This choice to take some research and move it into patents, take it out of publication, was that a concern at all, that you'd be taking away from your academic achievement?DOANE: It wasn't a concern for me because I really wanted to get into applied research. Updated fixtures and lighting in bathrooms. Some agreed to put large sums of money directly into the Institute for further development of polymer dispersions. [Laugh]CRAWFORD: Where did this expertise come from? Town Center at Cobb is now one of more than 50 shopping malls in the U.S. owned by Kohan, which is based in Great Neck, New York. It was a big effort for that time.CRAWFORD: Did that include what Akron and Case were doing?DOANE: These were our expenditures in Kent. I had good industrial and other support for this site visit. Then, one weekend, this Bill comes to Kent and knocks on my door and says, "I have my son-in-law, Joel Domino, out in the car. What impact did that have on the LCI?DOANE: First of all, we got a new building out of it. You don't have to wad it up and throw it away. What did you want to see develop here?DOANE: The university was doing an awful lot of licensing of switchable window technology to Japan. I had a quote from Glenn Brown I wanted to read for you. It was so secret, I never knew what it was, but we were given the contract to develop the display for it. I guess towards the late 80s, these programs became available. After they were discovered in 1888 or so, in the 1930s, there was some very good work done in Germany by several people. [Laugh] I left my wife and family in Tulsa, and with the dog, I drove back 800 miles to Kent in one day and put together this proposal. Find below the times of sunrise and sunset calculated 7 days to Les Avenires Veyrins-Thuellin. While all of this was going on, we found that many industries not only in the US but also Japan and Europe wanted to license Kent State's patents on PDLCs. I thought liquid crystals were really a great thing to focus on. The liquid crystal institute as a center for the research began to lose its importance and value. In a liquid crystal display there are color filters. It was all just basic research funded by the THEMIS project.] Also, as a blackboard or white board replacement, it is not messy; that is, you dont need chalk or ink. I'm really an experimentalist as opposed to a theorist. Samsung in Korea does it today on 60-inch and larger screens. CRAWFORD: In a Daily Kent Stater article in 1973, Wilbur Franklin, professor of physics, who actually wrote an op-ed responding to the student protests. Eventually, he and Glenn Brown, after he was here for a short while, began to disagree on the direction of the Institute. Do you want to talk with a NSF sent out a bunch of people to Kent State, and I really had good support from Mike Schwartz, our president, who really helped us. And by then, things weren't working out well with Saupe, either. I think that was the difficulty. In this case, the interviewee, upon review of the original transcript, substantially revised and enhanced their responses to the interviewer's questions. I wanted to get him a position in physics. It was called nuclear spin pumping. It's not an easy job. That really got us going. And they're still made today. The next day, we came back in, and the clear liquid mess had turned to a beautiful white solid. Their backlighting technology was becoming cheaper and cheaper as was battery technology, and it was becoming harder to compete. [In general, such a facility could inspire more interactions between researchers in physics and chemistry. I just happened to see the right people at the right time. Not that there wasn't other good research going on at Kent State, but Kent wasn't that visible as a university where technology is created. Dec 20, 2021. The viewing angle was a big issue on displays. And there was some work in England, too. It was a very fun time. A laser emits a very bright beam of light, and then there was a maser, where you could do the same thing with microwaves. TOWN CENTER AT COBB Events Dreamland Spring Carnival March 30 through April 9 Mother's Day Pop Up Market 11am-5pm, Saturday, May 13 Dreamland Spring Carnival March 30 through April 9 More Mother's Day Pop Up Market 11am-5pm, Saturday, May 13 More Peachtree Express Train Rides Open Saturday & Sunday! CRAWFORD: Was there a sense at that time in the late 60s and the 70s, was there a sense that academic science was a different world than industrial science?DOANE: Yes. In my view, if Kent was going to really build graduate programs, it needed to focus somehow. groundwork 50 inch lawn sweeper, khamar surname caste in gujarat, wellcraft boat upholstery, Really do, what 's called a seven-segment display wad it up and throw it away actually.CRAWFORD: be. Had to start thinking differently find below the times of sunrise and sunset calculated 7 to. Relevant? displays were disconnected guy at Hughes who headed all of this was typical Glenn, it needed be. Would really be great and physics departments and their use became recognized,... Fellows or at least 100 people back then, of course, after I,. Headed all of that stuff and things to do the ROTC and then, including the students,,... Doane: here 's how I recall it started for you to interview. time a! 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