George Hirasaki is a professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice. His grandfather came to Texas from Japan in 1906, as Japanese people weren't allowed to own land on the west coast. George was born in 1939 in Texas's Orange County, and began school around the end of World War II. As a result, he faced substantial discrimination and harassment throughout his youth. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1957, and notes not having seen a single other Asian American marine. He had attained an interest in science and chemistry in high school, and received a B.S. in chemical engineering with honors at Lamar University (then Lamar State College of Technology), followed by a Ph.D. at Rice in 1967. He worked at Shell after achieving his doctorate, and began teaching part-time at Rice in 1977, before becoming full-time faculty in 1993. Hirasaki talks at length about the changing oil industry and his experience as a Japanese American in Houston.