Joseph Francisco former President American Chemical Society

Joseph Francisco

Interview: How a low motivation student becomes a world class chemist with Joseph Francisco

Joseph Francisco is a distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University and former American Chemical Society President. We talk about how a low motivated student from Beaumont, Texas crossed continents to study chemistry became a well known chemist. In this interview, we talk about the keys to success in his career path and how he is helping others find careers in chemistry.

Below is a summary of our interview:


How much do you really value intelligence when as a society you continue to do unintelligent things-John Muffet

His Journey

Joe transitions from tending to the 12 dogs, 4 cats, 20 chickens, 2 rabbits, and 2 pigeons at his house in high school to embarking on a journey that took him to places like University of Texas Austin, MIT and all over the world.

Low Point

Joe had a professor who would routinely give him 25-30 less points on tests. After a conversation, the professor told Joe students “of his kind” was not supposed to succeed at the university. It was Joe’s first encounter with prejudice.

Aha Moment

Joe met a man who asked him for directions on a map, while he was a high school student. That caused him to think about the skills he needed to move forward in his life.

Joe’s work now  

Joe is using physical chemistry tools (ex. lasers) and theoretical chemistry (ex. computers) to examine chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

What’s exciting Joe now

Joe is looking forward to all the opportunities for young chemists to learn from scholars all over the world via a Virtual International Center from the American Chemical Society. We chat about the new recruitment requirements for chemists worldwide.

Lightning Round

Book Joe Recommends: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Helpful Habit: multitasking

Helpful Person: Dr. Richard Price, Dr. Raymond Davis, Jeff Steinfeld, Bob Gilbert, Dr. Bill Jackson, Dr. William Lester (that is a record folks 🙂 ) and his wife

Internet Resource: American Chemical Society

What’s Your Purpose: Use his talents to make a contribution to the world

Where to follow Joe


Joe’s Purdue Webpage

Let Joe know how much you enjoyed this interview.

Parting Words

If you look yourself in the mirror and you are not happy, it’s time to do something else.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

One More Thing

If you enjoy this interview, please take some time to rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher.

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Derrick Duplessy

Executive Director at Duplessy Foundation
Derrick has coached 500+ executives in 10 years as an executive coach. He runs Duplessy Foundation which is dedicated to creating meaningful careers for everyone. He also hosts Purpose Rockstar, a daily show on iTunes where he shares the career stories of a variety of guests.

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