ACerS latest video series, “Luminaries of The American Ceramic Society,” is an interview series designed to inspire ceramic and glass professionals of the past, present, and future by sharing the career stories of some of the industry’s greatest contributors.

The first interview in the series features David Pye, Distinguished Life Member and past-president of ACerS, founding editor of the International Journal of Applied Glass Science, and past-president of the International Commission on Glass.

Pye’s career catalog is impressive—in the interview, he takes us through his early experience working in glass engineering at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company to his research at Bausch and Lomb, where he focused more on the fundamental theories of glass and solid-state physics—a move, Pye says, was a career turning point where he met then-director of materials research and development, the late Norbert Kreidl, the glass technology expert for whom ACerS Glass and Optical Materials Division Kreidl Award is named after.

“It turned out he [Kreidl] was a real game changer for me. In fact, I was taking some graduate courses at the University of Rochester [New York] toward my master’s degree. One day, he came into my office and said that he was putting me on half-time—of course I was stunned when he said that. He said the reason why is that we’re going to send you graduate school, and they did that,” says Pye.

Pye went on to serve as dean and professor of glass science, emeritus, at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He was also chief executive officer of The Empire State Glassworks LLC. Among many other contributions to the ceramic and glass industry over the course of his career, Pye was the featured speaker at the International Glass Congress, July 1–5, 2013, in Prague, Czech Republic, where he talked about glass and the nanotechnology paradigm.

But Pye’s greatest career success lies in the students he mentored, he says—and he’s always encouraged them to look beyond what seems possible.

“There are some people who see things as they are and say ‘why,’ and other people see things as they might be and say ‘why not.’ Well, I’m in the latter category—I’m always looking toward what’s possible. You’re going to run into people [in your career] where you’ll propose something and the first thing they’ll tell you is ‘it can’t be done; it costs too much; the timing’s wrong; the budget’s tight; and, besides, we tried that 25 years ago and it didn’t work then so it’s not going to work now.’ But, that’s the thing—look beyond what you’re doing and what might be possible.”

Watch Pye’s full video interview below.

Credit: ACerS; YouTube