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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #977: Wolter, Karl E. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (August 15, 2008)

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00:19:40 - 00:22:02 Forest Products Laboratory

Forest Products Laboratory, first impressions, vocational interests, education, University of Wisconsin

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00:19:40

AP

Okay. Well before entering the Lab, had you known about it quite early on and what were your first impressions of the Lab?

KW

I knew about the Forest Products Laboratory from my undergraduate work at the forestry school at Syracuse, but I hadn't---I was going in the other direction, I was not going into engineering or wood technology, I was going into biology, but I knew about it. So I never, never expected to be involved with the Forest Products Laboratory or even be involved with the Forest Service or the USDA, I just presumed I would, after graduation, be involved in teaching somewhere or research.

My undergraduate work, my minor, at the University of Wisconsin was in forestry with Doctor Ted Kozlowski and he was the one who pointed out the fact that they were looking for somebody with my background. This was the time a little bit after Sputnik I guess and so there was lots and lots of funding for science work. Even as an undergraduate---even as a graduate student I had a lot of assistance because people were just pouring money into that area. The Laboratory was growing. Now I understand it's sort of shrinking. So let's see I got---you don't mind if I deviate once in a while.

AP

Oh no, not at all. Feel free.

KW

[Yes], because want to make it a little more interesting than just straightforward.

So I knew about the Forest Products Laboratory, I also knew that it was a world center of research and there were lots of other laboratories that were modeled on it, especially in Switzerland and Germany, then the Japanese also had that.

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