Richard Normann, Salt Lake City, Utah: an interview by Anne Peterson, 16 December 2011

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Title Richard Normann, Salt Lake City, Utah: an interview by Anne Peterson, 16 December 2011
Alternative Title No. 681 Richard Normann
Creator Normann, Richard A.
Contributor Peterson, Anne P.
Publisher Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
Date 2011-12-16
Access Rights I acknowledge and agree that all information I obtain as a result of accessing any oral history provided by the University of Utah's Marriott Library shall be used only for historical or scholarly or academic research purposes, and not for commercial purposes. I understand that any other use of the materials is not authorized by the University of Utah and may exceed the scope of permission granted to the University of Utah by the interviewer or interviewee. I may request permission for other uses, in writing to Special Collections at the Marriott Library, which the University of Utah may choose grant, in its sole discretion. I agree to defend, indemnify and hold the University of Utah and its Marriott Library harmless for and against any actions or claims that relate to my improper use of materials provided by the University of Utah.
Date Digital 2015-07-08
Spatial Coverage Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States,
Subject Normann, Richard A.--Interviews; Engineers--Utah--Biography; University of Utah--Faculty--Biography; University of Utah--History; Medicine--Research--Utah
Description Transcript (40 pages) of an interview by Anne P. Peterson with Richard Normann, bioengineering professor at the University of Utah, on 16 December 2011. Part of the University Oral History Project, Everett Cooley Collection tape no. U-
Abstract Richard Normann, professor of bioengineering at the University of Utah and former department chair, remembers his childhood, education, and his long career at the University of Utah. He pays particular attention to his background, and to his scientific accomplishments, most saliently the Utah Electrical Array. Born in Oakland, California, in 1943 to Danish parents, Normann first got into engineering helping his father repair the pinball machines that ensured the family´s livelihood. Normann focuses on his father´s background including his immigration to the United States, his education, and his rise to a prosperous walnut farmer, underpinned by a jukebox and pinball machine business. Normann´s own high school education left him ill-prepared for the rigors of the University of California at Berkeley, yet through hard work and odd jobs on the side he achieved a PhD in electrical engineering, as the field of bioengineering did not yet exist, despite his lack of interest in conventional electrical engineering. Time as a technician in the Berkeley physiology department shaped his interest in bioengineering. He details his odd jobs, including a stint at Crown Zellerbach paper company, and focuses on the powerful influence his thesis advisor, Frank Werblin, exerted on his career. Following his time at Berkeley, Normann completed a small postdoc at University of California at San Francisco medical school, and a stint as a staff fellow at the Bethesda, Maryland, National Institute of Health where he met his wife, distinguished retinal anatomist Helga Kolb, who moved with him to the University of Utah in 1979. He covers the development of the Utah Electrical Array, first tried in 1989, in great detail, including contributors, inspirations, and funding sources, and shares his thoughts on the artificial heart project and on the evolution of bioengineering both now and in the future. Normann also reflects on the Department of Bioengineering´s locational split between the Merrill Engineering Building and the biopolymers building near the Moran Eye Center.Normann spends some time covering his relaxed teaching style, emphasizing the professor´s reliance on good students to achieve success. He credits some of his good fortune with the fact that bioengineering is a growth industry with high student interest.A repeated theme throughout the interview is Normann´s emphasis on serendipity. As he remembers it, his career largely consisted of, besides hard work, being in the right place, at the right time, with the right students. He spends some time exploring his teaching career and salient students. The tireless Normann completed another doctorate, in education, at the University of London Institute of Education in 2009. Project: University of Utah Oral History Project. Interviewer: Anne Peterson.
Type Text
Genre oral histories (literary works)
Format application/pdf
Language eng
Rights Digital Image © 2015 Utah State Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.
Scanning Technician Niko Amaya; Halima Noor
Metadata Cataloger Daniel Patterson; Matt Brunsvik; Anna Neatrour; Ken Rockwell; Patrick Miller
Conversion Specifications Original scanned with Kirtas 2400 and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed TIFF. PDF generated by Adobe Acrobat Pro X for CONTENTdm display.
ARK ark:/87278/s6qg0nwc
Topic Engineers--Biography; University of Utah; Medicine--Research
Setname uum_elc
Date Created 2015-11-10
Date Modified 2015-11-10
ID 836881
Reference URL
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