The Disappearing Art of Glassblowing for Scientists

June 27, 2016

The imminent retirement of Rick Gerhart from the California Institute of Technology has scientists there distraught because he may be impossible to replace. As a profile in the Los Angeles Times explains, Gerhart is a glassblower who can create the unique equipment needed by Caltech professors for their experiments. Many universities once employed one or more glassblowers full time, but the positions are disappearing. Universities that used to have several glassblowers now may not have any. Caltech is doing a search to replace Gerhart, but other institutions have stopped trying. There is one program in the country -- at Salem Community College in New Jersey -- that prepares people for the career.

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